Richmond senior coach Damien Hardwick and captain Trent Cotchin helped the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to reach a bitter-sweet milestone, packing its 85,000th Buddy Bag on 26 June.
Buddy Bags are distributed to children placed in emergency care who often leave with only the clothes on their backs.
The bags are filled with basic, essential items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, pyjamas, underwear, pillowcase, face washer, a book, photo frame and the all-important teddy bear.
The Foundation’s CEO, Lesley Podesta, said that it is daunting to think of the numbers of children who have received Buddy Bags since the program started in 2007.
“So many have been distributed over the past decade, but we know the need just keeps growing,” Ms Podesta said.
“We’re so grateful for the amazing work the Richmond Football Club and its players and coaches do to continue to help Australian children in need.”
“The Buddy Bags are a gift of love that return a sense of security and dignity to a child and parent during a time of anxiety and stress. Sadly, the bags most in demand are for newborns to two-year-olds.
“I wish this service wasn’t required but, unfortunately, there is a constant demand from across the country. We are proud that together we can make a real difference for so many children.”
Richmond CEO and father of three, Brendon Gale, said the partnership with the Foundation helped to put football into perspective.
“The numbers are alarming. The Foundation supplies 10,000 Buddy Bags to children in emergency accommodation across the country every year. As a father, that’s a difficult statistic to consider, but for some families, that situation is their reality,” Gale said.
“As a football club, we will do anything and everything we can to support the Foundation to reduce the incidence of violence and bullying to children.”
Richmond will dedicate its Round 19 match against Collingwood on July 28 to the Foundation, to raise awareness and funds for the charity.
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