La’auli, Saveatama recruit Blues to support foodbank

With New Zealanders struggling against COVID-19, two Samoan rugby legends have enlisted the help of their former team to help meet demand for their foodbank.

La’auli Sir Michael Jones and Saveatama Eroni Clarke have run The Village Trust foodbank in Avondale, Auckland for the last 12 years, and on Thursday they brought in some Blues of today to help with deliveries.

Captain Sa’u Patrick Tuipulotu, coach Leon MacDonald and first five Beauden Barrett all volunteered their time, as reported by TVNZ 1 News.

“I think we can uplift a lot of families out there that are struggling,” Sa’u said.

“A lot of parents have lost jobs and going through hardship.

“It’s a long time [in lockdown] and the hard part has only just started, so if we can help out wherever we can we’ll certainly put our hand up to do that.

La’auli and Saveatama are operating the foodbank with their families, including Blues players Niko Jones and Caleb Clarke, with close to 3,000 food parcels delivered to those in need since New Zealand went into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

La’auli told Manukia that rugby needs to take the lead in this time of crisis.

"We're passionate about our people in our communities, and particularly the most vulnerable,” he said.

“I think it’s just out of one heart and one mind and one spirit around how can we best serve our people

"We are Pasifika, it's part of our DNA that we serve," Saveatama added.

"Particularly during times like this that we can really serve our communities because such is the need today."

The Blues have promised to support the foodbank more often going forward.

“Most of the teammates will be putting their hands up to do it, and I think we are going to do more of this,” Barrett said.

The All Black playmaker was able to relate strongly to the families her delivered parcels to around South Auckland due to his own upbringing.

“There are eight of us kids in our family and I saw how hard mum and dad had to work to provide and give opportunities,” he said.

“It is actually humbling to be able to deliver food and goods to families in need at this time.”

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