Do we need a hero, or just each other?

Help: Foodbank volunteers and Port Adelaide football players serve people at a pop-up event in Murray Bridge. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Help: Foodbank volunteers and Port Adelaide football players serve people at a pop-up event in Murray Bridge. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Murray Bridge "just needs someone to stand up and make it great again”.

A commenter left those words on The Standard's Facebook page last month, around election time.

A similar sentiment has been expressed by people across the world in recent years: if only there were a Donald Trump, a Vladimir Putin, a Jeremy Corbyn or a Nick Xenophon who could sweep the place clean and solve all the problems.

Unfortunately it's not usually that easy.

Systemic change takes time, cooperation and willpower.

Take one example that has shone through clearly this week.

On Wednesday, a pop-up Foodbank event supplied food to anyone who needed it.

Volunteers said the line-up was hundreds long, stretching from the betting ring at Murray Bridge Racecourse and out the gate.

On Sunday, this columnist was fortunate to emcee a concert held to benefit families still struggling in the wake of the Thomas Foods International fire.

There was some fine musical talent on display, a cross-section of our region's artistic ability.

But the point of the concert, organised by a sub-group of the Murray Bridge inter-church council, was to raise funds for workers who pre-registered through the fire relief centre and local non-profits.

It can be hard to tell how many needy people remain – TFI's Morna Young said all 900-plus permanent workers had now been offered jobs – but even if all are making their way out of the woods, many would still have months' worth of expenses backed up, or be preparing to move back out of parents' granny flats and mates' spare rooms.

And there are many more households for whom making ends meet is a weekly trial, given Murray Bridge's high unemployment.

Much of the work that exists is less secure than it was, more often casual or part-time, and the super-rich keep getting richer.

The challenge to those of us in between is: don't wait for a strongman or a hero to come along and fix the problem (unless you’re one of those super-rich people, in which case you can probably be a bit heroic yourself).

Your generosity, your hours, your dollars and words – the combined contributions of thousands of people are what will get our community out of this.

Thanks for all you have given so far.

Let's keep it up, as best we can, together.

Peri Strathearn

Comments

Discuss "Do we need a hero, or just each other?"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.