The Bank of Tiny Tummies

The Bank of Tiny Tummies
I’m not originally from the Riverland - I moved here at the end of 2012 from Melbourne after my wife and I decided we would like a bit of a change of scenery, and even though we’ve been living here for a while now, I’ve been told that you need to be living in the region for a minimum of 10 years before you get to call yourself an official Riverlander. I can’t wait.

When people ask me about living on the river, I describe it like this; “The Riverland is where Australia goes on holidays, and Australia is where the rest of the world goes on holidays. So I technically live in the place where people that are on holiday go for a holiday.”

Sounds great right? Well, it is. The Riverland is one of the most beautiful places on earth, both because of the towns and the people that live in them; It’s hard not to get swept up in the sense of community inherent in a place like this, particularly when you’re accustomed to the hustle, bustle and impersonality of the city.

Living in a country town like Renmark is – for the most part - a reflection of living in the city, just at a much more magnified scale, and with that magnification it’s no surprise the concerns of the community are equally magnified. You become almost acutely aware of how your actions affect – not only the people around you, but the industries in which they make their livelihood. Living in a city it is often far too easy to become disconnected from these industries when you aren’t among them on a daily basis, regardless of how much you actually rely on them.

You may recall, for instance, the explosion of support for dairy farmers which took place last year as it came to light they were being dealt a pretty raw hand from our supermarket chains. For most people it was a story, something which gained national exposure and then petered out into the archives of keyboard warriors and nerd rage, it was something a lot of people cared vehemently about for exactly as long as was expected of them, at the very least I like to think it made people think a bit harder about which milk carton they were picking up, but it probably didn’t.

That’s the way it is though, had I still been living in the city I likely would have been one of those that felt strong feelings about it, shook my fist in the air and expressed my outrage, and then promptly went on living my life. But when you live in a rural setting, when the people you are talking about aren’t hundreds of kilometers away, when the people affected by these things are your neighbours, your friends, or your family, it starts to become something else entirely.

It becomes personal.

It's when it becomes personal that changes start happening. Communities band together, people have ideas how they can help, and then those ideas become things, tangible things, things that become mechanisms for other people to get behind. If there’s one habit Australians are very good at, it’s banding together in times of turmoil - Aussie’s are just that kind of people, we don’t like seeing good people down on their luck. In fact, as I write this, the drought sweeping through many parts of our nation is resulting in a high level of support for affected farmers in the form of the ‘Parma for a Farmer’ campaign (even though we all know it’s called a ‘Parmy’, not a ‘Parma’, but, semantics).

Yet, as these campaigns grow like a wild and passionate fire through social media channels and the much-needed support is obtained, there, plodding along in the background are the people who make it their sole occupation to do the things others only talk about. These are the people who realise that even the smallest change can make a big difference, and they wake up every day with a mission to make small changes and big differences. They don’t do it because they’re being swept along by a current of online support, they don’t do it for notoriety - they definitely don’t do it for financial gain - they simply do it because they’re good people, and they like making other people’s days better.

And if you’re planning to make someone’s day better, I reckon a good place to start is with breakfast.
For the past 18 years, Foodbank – established in South Australia, has been redistributing surplus food for those in need. The non-profit organisation relies on the support of a large network of dedicated people who have a commitment to fulfilling the vision of a South Australia without hunger. Food growers, manufacturers and processors produce quantities of food which, for various commercial reasons, cannot be sold. The products may be incorrectly labelled, have faulty packaging, be part of a trial run or are not produced to exact specifications, in fact, it’s estimated that as much as 30% of all food produced is unsaleable for a variety of reasons.
Hunger is largely a hidden social problem and many of its victims suffer in silence. Each month, approximately 102,718 South Australians experience food insecurity with one third of them being children.

The prices of essentials like food, health, education, housing, utilities and transport have climbed so much in recent years that people who are already struggling are susceptible to sudden bill shock and financial disadvantage. The current economic climate means people are turning to charity who would never have dreamed of seeking such support in the past. So it’s not just traditionally vulnerable groups such as the homeless seeking food relief, but also the aged, single parents and the working poor.
In addition to the amazing work Foodbank provide both in suburban and regional centers across South Australia, Foodbank’s School Breakfast Program is ensuring that children from all walks of life have an equal start to the day, they believe that hunger affects a child’s ability to concentrate, learn and achieve. Thanks to Foodbank, our future pioneers of industry, our future farmers, technicians, scientists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, construction workers, electricians, plumbers, builders, lawyers, accountants, truck drivers, administrators and professionals are starting their days with full tummies, ready minds and bright dreams.

The program takes into account the circumstances of each school through consultation, with varying degrees of involvement. Yet, whatever that level of involvement might take, it is Foodbank’s focus to make sure the healthy food needed by our kids is available to schools at no cost.

Yates Electrical Services are extremely proud to be supporting this incredible initiative, this amazing team of people who do so much behind the scenes every day, just to make someone else’s day that little bit brighter.

And from the team at Yates Electrical Services, thank you to Foodbank for the amazing work you do for your community, your efforts are so very appreciated.

If you are interested in finding out more about Foodbank's School Breakfast Program, please head over to their website here.

About the Author

Patrick is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Yates Electrical Services. When he's not designing stuff and writing stories, he performs as an acoustic soloist and spends time with his beautiful little family.

Patrick also likes long walks on the beach, sewing, and photoshopping himself to look like an Avenger. He really wishes he was an Avenger.