As the 227th Merseyside derby edges nearer, Everton and Liverpool supporters have put their rivalry to one side and teamed up to raise awareness of an initiative that goes beyond their club colours.

A group of Merseyside football fans have all come together to call on Reds and Blues from both sides attending the game on Monday night to take any non-perishable food they can spare to any of the three drop-off points located around Goodison Park.

The Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative, set up by local Liverpool and Everton supporter groups in conjunction with North Liverpool Foodbank, Anfield Breckside Community Centre, Unite in the Community and the Trussell Trust, has received the backing of both football clubs and other supporter groups.

Ahead of each Liverpool and Everton matchday, volunteers from North Liverpool Foodbank are joined by supporters to help collect food donated by fans.

Both Liverpool and Everton have offered space to the fan-led initiative in their respective fan zones.

A total of 3,191kg or 502 stone of food has been donated by fans of both clubs since collections started at Anfield and Goodison Park.

The growing need for support for the city’s foodbanks has been highlighted in a recent report by the Trussell Trust, which stated ‘2,650 three-day emergency food supplies are provided to local people by 10 foodbanks during April to September 2016’. Of this number, 978 went to children.

The report went on to conclude that the top three reasons for foodbank referrals were: benefit delay, 34 per cent; benefit change, 24 per cent; low income, 19 per cent.

Vicky Ponsonby, foodbank manager of North Liverpool Foodbank, said: "Anybody could find themselves in need of the foodbank. Every week we meet local people like you or me, who have been hit by something unavoidable – such as illness, a delay in welfare payments or an unexpected bill – and are unable to afford food.

"It really is only with the community’s support that we’re able to provide vital emergency help when it most matters, and we’re constantly surprised and overwhelmed by local people’s generosity."

Ian Byrne, founding member of Fans Supporting Foodbanks and member of the Liverpool FC Supporters’ Committee, said: "In an ideal world we would not be having to do this but there are more and more families finding themselves having to use foodbanks.

"With winter and Christmas approaching it is vital foodbanks get all the support they need. Liverpool and Everton fans have shown in recent years that campaigning together for the people of our city delivers results and we believe our actions can help those that need it the most in our community."

Dave Kelly, chair of Fans Supporting Foodbanks and Evertonian, said: "The motto of the campaign states ‘hunger does not wear club colours’ and the dedication shown by fans from both sides of the park should be commended."

There will be three collection points around the stadium and the Foodbank van will be located in the Park End.

Donations can also be dropped off at St Luke’s Church and the Winslow pub on Goodison Road.