Australian cricketer Marnus Labuschagne reflects on his partnership with Compassion for the 50 for 50 campaign and how it has supported families during the global food crisis.

I’m 28 years old, married to my wife, Bek, and recently a proud father to my daughter, Hallie Grace.

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I’m best known for playing cricket. Sometimes for my local club the Redlands Tigers, sometimes in the backyard, and most of the time for the Australian cricket team. Test Cricket is my game of choice, and my role in the team is to bat at number 3 and score as many runs as I can.

My Christian faith has always been a big part of who I am as a person and a major source of strength and inspiration in my life.

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I was born in South Africa, and my family emigrated to Australia when I was 10 years old. We arrived on a Monday, and by that Saturday, I was in full whites, playing for my local cricket club. As a young kid in a different country, it became clear how important cricket was to helping me get integrated into life here. Sport has a way of transcending language and culture. We had only just met, and had grown up on opposite sides of the world, but we were all on the same page, chasing the same goal. I love that thought.

Since then, things have obviously changed for me in many ways—cricket isn’t just a fun Saturday activity anymore, it’s a full time job. Life alternates between the jam-packed Aussie Summer of Cricket, to a just as busy English Summer of Country Cricket. In between those two, there is usually an international series against other cricketing nations: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, New Zealand and West Indies to name a few.

I’m incredibly grateful to have seen so much of the world as part of this experience.

Even though we come as the ‘opposition’ in the sporting sense, we are always welcomed so warmly by the host nations. We get to experience different cultures, food and meet many of the locals.

I’ve seen a lot of the world and many different standards of living. It doesn’t take a life of international cricket to understand that there are a lot of people in need, and to recognise how fortunate we are in Australia. As I’ve continued in my career, I’ve felt the urge to do something more. To use sport, specifically cricket, the game that’s given me so much, to help others where I can.

As I learnt almost 20 years ago, sport is one tool that can help unite a bunch of people from many different backgrounds around a common cause.

This is where Compassion enters the picture for us. As I mentioned before, last year we welcomed our own daughter into the world.

I read about Emiliana, a newborn baby in Tanzania. At six months old, Emiliana was the same size as a two-month-old baby. Drought impacted the harvest in her rural community in Tanzania, devastating her family’s income and food supply. Despite her mother’s desperate attempts to breastfeed, the family’s circumstances left Emiliana severely malnourished and underweight.

As we read this, with a newborn of my own sleeping peacefully in the room next door, it was one of those truths that really hit home.

Bek and I decided to partner with Compassion Australia to do what we can to help get food to those who need it most.

The mission of Compassion has always been important to us, but to hear that there were over 345 million people globally who didn’t have an idea of where their next meal is coming from was shocking.

Talking to the team at Compassion, to hear that for just $50, we could provide food for a family for a whole month was incredible. Compassion’s local church partners were equipped to recognise the family's needs and provide urgent support, including food supplies. To think about how often we get takeaway or head down to a cafe and spend $50, felt like a no-brainer to encourage others to get on board too.

This is where the seeds of the 50 for 50 Campaign were planted.

The number 345 million felt insurmountable. It’s just SO many people, and makes you think about whether you can really change anything. But it is good to stop and think about individuals who are hungry or about families getting to dinnertime with no food to eat. Or parents getting home from working long days, and giving their children the last of whatever food they have left.

So where did we start?

We partnered up with Compassion Australia to bring to life the 50 for 50 campaign across the summer.

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What was it?

The idea was to donate 50 food packs for every 50 runs I scored across the summer season.

This campaign was about three things for me: 1. To get food packs to families who need them by personally donating them as a family. 2. To raise awareness of the global food crisis. Even if I were to score thousands of runs, it would only be a drop in the ocean of the hundreds of millions of people in need. But as I‘ve mentioned, it’s the awareness that changes things on a bigger scale. 3. To encourage others to donate and contribute in their own way.

So how did it go?

We raised $31,932. That’s 639 food packs for families that didn’t have anything to eat.

I’m really proud of this result. It’s never been lost on me that people are paying attention to what I do and say, and it’s a privilege to be able to have an influence.

One of the real highlights of the whole campaign was seeing a man who decided to create his own 50 for 50 campaign and raised over $600 for running over 100km. This is what it’s all about for me, and this is where we can have an outsized impact. When we all do our bit with whatever we have.

I believe strongly in the importance of using what we have, whether that be our natural gifting and abilities, resources, time or platforms to positively impact the lives of those less fortunate than us in the world.

Life isn’t about what we achieve. It’s about who we are and how we use what we have for others. For all those that supported the campaign, thank you.

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So what’s next?

It doesn’t stop here, in fact this is just the beginning!

The need continues far beyond this campaign, which is why I’m excited to continue my partnership with Compassion for the next three years.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting Compassion in this mission to answer hunger with hope. There is so much more to be done!