Aussie rockers Chisel help families in need
Renee and Grant Pettifer and their children are just one of the families Cold Chisel hope to help with their mammoth Blood Moon tour.
The beloved rockers have linked with Foodbank, the pantry to Australia's charities, to help thousands of families suffering severe financial stress.
Foodbank have provided 77 million meals in the past 12 months to struggling Australians including the Pettifers and their four children - Emily, Nicolaas, Zoe and Stephanie - who found themselves in dire need when Grant as injured at work and unable to continue as a tow truck driver.
A succession of misadventures struck the family from the NSW Southern Highlands, with their income hit by $12,000 over several months, illustrating just how easily it is to go from making ends meet to struggling to buy food, pay a mortgage, cover medical bills and afford rising fuel costs within a few months.
While Renee is working two jobs and Grant has undertaken IT courses to get back into the workforce and get the family back on track, they still need access to Foodbank services some months to feed their children.
They were forced to sell loungeroom furniture recently, when one of their daughters broke her arm, to pay for the gap in medical bills.
"It just wiped us out when Grant was injured. I was working two jobs at the time, doing night shift in a disability group home and as a learning support officer, and the money we got along with Centrelink gave us $1500 a fortnight and our mortgage is $1000 a fortnight, so we were left to raise four children on $500 a fortnight, to feed, clothes, school, bills, everything on $250 a week and what little savings we did have disappeared within a few weeks," she said.
"You hit the crest where you think we are going OK and then something else happens."
Cold Chisel members Jimmy Barnes, Don Walker, Ian Moss, Phil Small and Charley Drayton rolled up their sleeves to help volunteers pack a pallet's worth of Christmas hampers at Foodbank headquarters in NSW.
The charity pantry had estimated they would need 12,000 hampers this year but their resources have been further stretched by those affected by the drought and fires.
Barnes, who detailed the harrowing effect of childhood poverty in his Working Class Boy memoir, said the band wanted to encourage Chisel fans to help other fans such as the Pettigrews, by donating what they could during the tour.
"There's too many people in Australia going hungry, especially at a time when the Government is slashing funding to places like Foodbank," Barnes said.
"The other great thing about this, particularly the fresh food, is if it doesn't end up here it ends up in landfill and causes a whole other set of problems. I hate the waste of it.
"It's sad that something like this has to exist because there are so many people in this country going hungry but that's a fact. You lose your job for three months and see how hard it is to keep feeding your family."
Cold Chisel will soon reveal details of special auctions to raise funds for Foodbank and will also be doing collections at their Blood Moon concerts which kick off in Fremantle on New Year's Eve.