THE football season had not even kicked off and Rangers had already collected countless bags of food in their drive to combat hunger in the city.

Staff at the Rangers Charity Foundation set up a collection point in Ibrox and at their megastore to encourage supporters to drop off tins and bags on match days.

But the response by supporters and locals in the Ibrox area was so great during the summer that they have already made trips back and forth to nearby foodbanks to deposit the donations.

Now, in the week leading up to the first game of the season, the club wants even more people to rally around to support the city's poor.

Following their 2-1 win against Hibs on Tuesday in the Petrofac Training Cup, the team is set to play Hearts in the Scottish Championship opening fixture on Sunday.

Rangers Charity Foundation manager Connal Cochrane said just two weeks after setting up their dedicated collection point, back in June, they had already received a huge response.

He added: "We have been collecting at the stadium for our local foodbank and are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated food so far.

"Now that the new season is about to start, supporters or members of the public who want to help are welcome to hand in supplies to the megastore at the stadium on match days too."

Connal said the club and the foundation was desperate to help those who cannot put meals on the table.

He said: "We fully support the Food For Thought campaign and want to help people in the city who find themselves in a crisis situation and face the incredible stress of being unable to feed themselves or their family."

Rangers striker Nicky Clark has thrown his weight behind the campaign and says he and his teammates are proud to help.

The Bellshill-born 23-year-old said: "Foodbanks are helping so many people when they need it most.

"No-one in Glasgow should have to go hungry and everyone at the club is proud to support this campaign and do what we can to assist."

The Evening Times is calling for a more coordinated approach to make sure that all foodbanks have a network of support and hungry people are in no doubt about where to seek help.

We also want to remove the stigma attached to food poverty so that more people donate non-perishable items and no-one is embarrassed to visit a foodbank.

Elsewhere in the city, sporting giants have been doing everything they can to get behind our plea to stop Glaswegians going hungry.

Derek Smith, Glasgow Tigers director, said the speedway team held food collections throughout July.

Derek said: "I was a wee bit nervous at what would happen but we were blown away by the response.

"The level of donations we received in just one week was unbelievable.

"We were running out of floor space."

Derek said Glasgow Speedway was dedicated to helping the community.

He said: "We try to do what we can to help people, especially near us in the north of Glasgow.

"We appeal to a cross section of the population so we are in a unique position to ask people to help."

Partick Thistle has also been supporting our calls -- and players, staff and supporters will continue to help their local foodbank in Maryhill.

But it's not just the sporting world.

Elsewhere in the city there has been action from all sides.

At Glasgow Housing Association, the city's biggest social landlords, there has been a push to make sure the most vulnerable people get help.

JACQUELINE Norwood, GHA'S Neighbourhood Services leader, said: "We know food poverty is a big issue across Glasgow, and too many people in our communities are struggling to put food on the table.

"Our Housing Officers have been referring hard-pressed tenants to foodbanks in their area, and we are working on various initiatives to tackle the underlying issues that result in food poverty.

"But we know there is more that needs to be done, and that's why the Evening Times' Food for Thought' campaign is so important."