On Thursday 30 April, star Matildas and Atlético Madrid Femenino midfielder Alex Chidiac and former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri rolled up their sleeves to #PlayforLives for kids in need! Lending a hand at Variety – the Children’s Charity, these football heroes packed ‘Variety Joy Packs’ full of toys, books and games before heading off to make the deliveries to Victorian kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs in isolation.
Alex and Melissa, alongside staff from Professional Footballers Australia gave their time and skills to Variety as part of the #PlayForLives initiative.
Kicked off by former Socceroo Craig Foster and his Waverley Old Boys team in Sydney, #PlayForLives is a campaign that encourages all of sport to play an active role in helping Australia through the COVID-19 crisis and has resulted in social projects all around the country from professional athletes and clubs to grass roots sport which are the heart of so many communities.
Craig Foster commended the players who have taken the pledge to play for lives “We’ve seen athletes and participants of all types come together to help vulnerable communities from sick and isolated children, to packing boxes in food relief centres. The PFA and footballers are a marvellous, socially minded group who have really taken the lead and made a difference. Well done to Alex, Mel and everyone who’s contributed”.
Chidiac, who recently returned to Australia from Spain due to the coronavirus outbreak in Europe and helped to pack boxes for Variety last Thursday, said footballers had a responsibility to give back to their communities: “I think it’s really important for athletes to take this opportunity to reflect on what is most important to us and to give back to our communities. There are many people who are struggling so any small gesture or effort we can make hopefully has a big impact, particularly for young kids who may be unwell or in need at this time.”
Variety CEO Mandy Burns said “It is so wonderful to have athletes, our sporting heroes, take the time to model how important kindness and compassion is at this time. Together, with their talents and time we can help spread a little joy to our kids and families, who are among some of the most vulnerable in our community. Each Joy Pack has been specially put together for each child to bring a little light into their lives and their homes during isolation.”
#PlayForLives is powered by Be Collective, a social enterprise platform design to mobilise sharing, goodwill and volunteering across Australia.
Take a look at beIN Sports’ coverage – ‘Matildas give back to kids in need’.