Brazilian football club Internacional has followed in the footsteps of Argentine team River Plate by opening its Gigantinho arena up to local homeless people.
The 14,500-seat Gigantinho arena is located next door to Internacional’s Estádio Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre. On Friday, the club opened up the arena to the homeless on what was the coldest night of the year so far in Porto Alegre.
Hundreds of locals were offered shelter, with 50,000 items of clothing donated, 2,000 blankets provided and seven tonnes of food supplied. Fans of rival team Grêmio also stepped in to lend a hand.
Club president Marcelo Medeiros said: “We were very pleased with the engagement. The amount of donated items and food will transcend tonight and help a lot of people during this winter.”
The initiative formed part of the Esquenta Porto Alegre Warm Clothing Campaign, which also provides locals with medical care and vaccinations against influenza.
The move comes after River Plate last week opened up its El Monumental stadium to the homeless amid falling temperatures in Buenos Aires. River worked with the Red Solidaria group on the initiative, which saw local homeless people given shelter for the night and warm clothes, food and blankets.