Sports stars tackle homelessness
More than $120,000 was raised for Wesley Mission’s homelessness support services by some of Australia’s leading sporting identities at a luncheon last week at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia in Sydney.
Hosted by former Wallabies captain, Nick Farr-Jones, and Wesley Mission supporter, Phillip Hartog, the annual Sports United event broke a previous fundraising record.
Many of the athletes who attended Sports United shared why they choose to support Wesley Mission. Retired AFL and Sydney Swans player, Jude Bolton, explained his passion for tackling the issue of homelessness within the community.
“I’ve come along to Sports United for a number of years now. It’s a great event and a better opportunity to help those doing it tough,” he explained. “I see a lot of homeless people in Woolomooloo. Some of them are wearing three piece suits. It makes me think where they’ve come from and realise that homelessness can happen to anyone.”
Australian and NSW cricketer, Nathan Lyon, echoed similar sentiments and shared about the importance of financially supporting homelessness accommodation services.
“I’m always happy to support and look for ways to give back to community,” he said. “I have two young girls of my own and I’d do anything to steer him away from that life but it’s scary to know that there are this many children doing it tough. It really hits home.”
Our CEO, the Rev Keith Garner (pictured above) shared the story of a former client of Wesley Mission's accommodation service, Edward Eagar Lodge, and guest at Sports United.
This client's downward spiral into homelessness began when his son was diagnosed with cancer. On top of juggling carer duties for his son with his wife, disaster struck again when he lost his job. Then, when he thought things couldn’t get any more worse, about a year later, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Help came for our client when he was referred to Edward Eagar Lodge. Over the course of six months we helped him get back on his feet and into long-term housing. Our former client continues to attend our annual Easter Sunrise Service out of thanks for the help he received.
A live auction was held at Sports United raising $23,500 from the sale of numerous prizes including one year’s free parking at the Sydney Opera House, Emirates Business Class flights to New Zealand and a seaplane flight with a three-course lunch at the multi award-wining Catalina restaurant in Rose Bay.
Sports United was made possible through major sponsorship, Toyota and other corporate supporters including Westpac, Anchorage, LDO, Goodman, Impact Group, Martin & Ollmann and Midson. Other sports stars who supported the event included retired Australian and Manly Sea Eagles footballer, Steve Menzies, former rugby union players, Mark and Gary Ella, and Sydney FC A-League manager, Graham Arnold.
Wesley Mission holds regular fundraising events throughout the year to raise the vital funds that support Wesley Mission’s many services and programs. Head to our fundraising page for further information on how to get involved with our fundraising activities.