Sam breaking down barriers
Sharks NRL squad members take part in numerous community initiatives and events throughout the season.
This year alone the Sharks attended 535 events and committed 2100 hours as we continued to be ‘more than just a football club’ in and around our local community.
All players buy in, realise the importance of the community work and are happy to play their part.
Many go over and above the call of duty and one player in particular did just that in 2017.
An extremely worthy nominee for the NRL’s Ken Stephen Medal and the recipient of the Sharks Have Heart Community Award for 2017, in addition to 60 ‘Sharks Community’ hours across 15 appearances, Sam Tagataese committed time, effort and resources to a cause he felt passionate about.
Tagataese partnered up with Matt Renata and Borderless Community Services in 2017, an organisation that delivers food hampers to families in need.
On a weekly basis Tagataese would meet Renata and his hard-working volunteer staff at Borderless and assist with the packaging and transporting of fresh fruit, vegetables, breads and meats to sometimes up to 100 families each week.
Often Tagataese would arrange an area at Sharks Leagues Club to sort and pack the hampers, on other occasions borrow the Sharks football department gear van to help with the distribution.
All on his own time, but always happy to be giving back and to be making a difference.
“It’s a great organisation, giving relief to families that are struggling. It’s a great initiative and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Tagataese said. “We found each other, we shared some ideas, teamed up and I offered my help.
“It’s always satisfying giving back to the community and seeing the smiles on the families when we arrive and give out the hampers. Families are struggling and the help and care someone offers goes a long way.”
Most of the food Borderless Community Services delivers is donated, from outstanding charitable organisations such as Second Bite, Oz Harvest, Gift of Bread and the Food Bank.
Second Bite, Oz Harvest and Food Bank supply rescued fruit and veggies, pies, snacks, drinks, sandwiches and cakes, Gift of Bread loaves of fresh bread and rolls.
The Borderless mission to is give relief to those who are suffering, then build towards long term sustainability, with their goal to help people to get relief from poverty, sickness, distress and helplessness.
As for Tagataese’s goals in relation to Borderless, they might be two-fold.
While he gets great satisfaction from assisting with the day to day activities, he hopes his presence will also attract some attention to Borderless as they strive to grow and to assist more and more families in need.
Borderless need vans to transport the food, a facility to store it and freezers to keep it fresh, not to mention volunteers to help expand their operations and provide for the many people who need their assistance.
“That would help Borderless to have longevity, to be sustainable and to reach out to more families,” Tagataese said.
To find out more about Borderless Community Services go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BORDERLESSCOMMUNITYSERVICES/ .
A finalist for the Ken Stephen Medal, the Sharks Community award winner, Tagataese deserves all the accolades that come his way.
“He’s always supportive and he’s always on my tail making sure things are ok,” Matt Renata from Borderless said. “He’s a great asset.”
And a last word from Tagataese himself;
“It’s always been a passion of mine and it’s been in my heart for a long time to give back to the community. I’m just trying to give back.”