Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler officially launched an expanded 2019 Hogs For The Homeless program today (Monday 11 February) which will include delivering a bus in Tumut to children with disabilities, playing beach football in Lennox Head, selling a sheep in Carcoar, re-turfing a school playing field in Baulkham Hills and handing out 5000 footballs to children … all in nine days.
Fittler was joined at the 2019 Hogs For The Homeless launch at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence at Sydney Olympic Park by the NSW Minister for Police, the Hon. Troy Grant, NSWRL Foundation Chairman Barry O’Farrell, Youth off the Streets founder Father Chris Riley and NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden.
Also present were Rugby League icon Ian Schubert, True Blues Mark O’Meley and Michael Buettner and NSW Women’s Origin player Kezie Apps, who will join Fittler along the tour starting this Friday 15 February.
A host of other True Blues including Danny Buderus, Nathan Hindmarsh, Steve Menzies and Greg Alexander and Rugby League legend Nathan Blacklock will also take part in the seventh annual Hogs For the Homeless tour which will see riders travel almost 4000km to more than 10 towns across regional NSW.
Since Fittler started Hogs For The Homeless in 2013, the initiative has raised almost $700,000 for Youth off the Streets to help disadvantaged youth, as well as helping Junior Rugby League clubs to raise much-needed funds and increase registrations.
Fittler announced that this year’s tour had been expanded to include more activities and events, as well as welcoming new partners - the NSW Police and PCYC (who will run Fitness for Life boxing classes for fitness along the route), Red Energy (who have played a major role in the bus delivery in Tumut) and the Australian Hotels Association.
“The Hogs For The Homeless tour has been a big part of my life and I look forward to the ride every year,” Fittler said.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to the community every year and all the riders who take part really buy into what we’re doing.
“There’s a lot of people around the state who do it tough and it’s a humbling experience to know they can get a lift from just a simple hello, or having a chat.
“There’s also a lot of people from all over NSW who have great stories to share and I really enjoy spending time with them.”
Mr Grant said the police are really looking forward to taking part in this year’s tour.
“We might be the lucky country, but there are a lot of Australians who are down on their luck, and Hogs For The Homeless is a great initiative that provides some amazing support for those individuals, and lets them know they’re not alone, people do care, and they’re willing to do something about it,” Mr Grant said.
“Having raised more than half a million dollars to get young people off the streets in recent years, I’m incredibly excited to see what will be achieved on this year’s tour with the additional support of the NSW Police Force and PCYC who will be engaging with local communities along the way to deliver crucial messages and resources for young people.”
Father Chris Riley, whose Youth off the Streets program was presented a cheque for $70,000 by NSWRL Foundation Chairman Barry O’Farrell from funds raised on the 2018 tour, said it was great to see NRL legends coming together and supporting young people in need.
“The funds from the ride will be used to support our 35 services across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria,” Father Chris Riley said.
“The Hogs For The Homeless ride is a staple in our events calendar. The vital funds it raises contributes to the success of Youth off the Streets and helps our kids to unlock their full potential.
“I would like to thank Brad (Fittler), Ian (Schubert), NSW Rugby League and all the people who helped organise and support the Hogs For The Homeless ride for their hard work and commitment to young people in need.”
Fittler and the riders will attend a sponsor’s dinner on Thursday 14 February at Terrey Hills Tavern before departing for the tour on Friday 15 February from Brookvale Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. The tour will conclude with a re-turf of the Jasper Road Public School playing field at Baulkham Hills on Saturday 23 February.