The Murray Bridge community has had a rough start to 2018 with a large fire causing significant damage to the Thomas Foods International abattoir, which was a major local employer. This also had a major impact on other businesses in the community and further hindered the ability of those who were already unemployed in the region to find employment opportunities.
Foodbank SA teamed up with the Port Adelaide Football Club (PAFC) to help vulnerable South Australians in need in the Murray Bridge area following this crisis. Foodbank organised two trucks of produce to be delivered to the Murray Bridge Racing Club (site provided for the event), and the PAFC provided the ‘manpower’, many of the much needed volunteers on the day.
More than 360 individuals attended the Murray Bridge Pop Up, representing more than 900 vulnerable South Australians in need (with nearly half of the 900 being children).
A total of 7,400 kg of fresh fruit and vegetables and other assorted groceries were distributed in under two hours. With more than 50 volunteers helping to make the day a success, 25 of these volunteers were from Port!
Adelaide Knit & Natter group distributed 978 knitted garments, including blankets, beanies, scarves and baby clothes. With our wonderful BBQ team cooking up nearly 500 sausages and Community Foodies handing out some delicious couscous salad and recipes lifting the spirits of the community on the day.
“We’ve been a strong supporter of Foodbank over the years and part of the club’s values is to make the community proud. We had 25 staff up in Murray Bridge giving back to the community and supporting Foodbank’s initiative to put on a variety of food and shopping options for the community to access during a difficult time,” said Ross Wait, Community Manager, PAFC.
Ross continued, “There’s a lot of community hardship at the moment because of what happened with the devastating fire at Thomas Foods so we as a club identified that with Foodbank we could bring the food trucks up here to provide the community with a bit of support and the people have just been taken aback by the help from Foodbank and the football club.”
It was amazing to have Chad Wingard, who is from Murray Bridge and also has family there, support the event. Seeing a player who clearly has a heart for community, humbly helping those in need to get their shopping bags full of food loaded into the car.
“I’ve seen the families that I’ve grown up with and lots of friends and family here affected by the fire at the meat works,” said Chad Wingard.
“We thought we could help those families who’ve been affected and of course I was going to put my hand up to help out.” He said.
“The community members are very positive and very thankful for the opportunity to pick up some food to help feed their kids,” he said.
In addition, Foodbank were so pleased to see the GOAT, Russell Ebert, who packaged hundreds of bags of potatoes for those in need, what a legend!
It was great to receive feedback from those who attended the pop up and what it meant to them:
“We’ll be able to eat for the next few days. I won’t be anxious about how I’m going to feed myself and my kids. It gives me respite. It is a relief”
“I have no money till Tuesday. It has made a huge difference to me and my family”
“As a single mum of two boys, who has recently got out of a DV relationship this helps us so much xx”
A huge thank you to PAFC for supporting this event and the Murray Bridge Racing Club for kindly allowing us to use their site.