CELTIC fans were today praised by a Church of Scotland minister for helping the poor by ­donating thousands of items to a food bank in Glasgow's East End.

Tonnes of food stuff have been given by Hoops supporters ever since the football club splashed out £50,000 to enable the food bank to ­recruit a full time project co-ordinator.

The generous gestures have been made to the Glasgow North East Food Bank which operates from the Calton Parkhead Parish Church of Scotland.

Local councillor Yvonne Kucuk said: "Those are great examples of how people in the east end have come ­together despite the religious and football divide to help those most in need.

"We really should recognise the true meaning of a community rallying together to help others regardless of their creed and regardless of their background."

The church in Helenvale Street serves parishioners in Parkhead and Dalmarnock but because of local poverty levels a food bank was opened last September by charity chiefs with the Trussell Trust which operates three others in Glasgow.

Last week the church bank - it opens three days a week - fed more than 600 locals.

It was given a massive boost when Celtic officials donated £50,000 following a fundraising football match to honour former player Stiliyan Petrov who battled acute leukemia two years ago and is currently in remission.

Fans have since held regular collections at home games. Since November six tonnes of food as well as items including nappies and toothpaste have been donated.

That's four times the average supermarket collection of 1.5 tonnes.

Church minister, the Rev Alison Davidge, said the cash donation from the football club's charity arm, the Celtic Foundation, triggered the support from fans at a time when "feeder" banks are also being set up in areas such as Easterhouse.

She said: "What you have is the Church of Scotland, Celtic and its supporter base all working together as a whole community.

"We are seeing a community helping a community. It proves to me that people ­really do care about others."

A Celtic spokesman said the club had a "charitable history" of helping the needy and added: "We hope our ­efforts and those of our fans have in some way made a positive difference."