Operatunity Launches S.O.F.A – Seniors Offering Families Assistance
If anyone knows New Zealand’s seniors, it’s Operatunity Co-Owners and Directors Susan Boland and John Cameron. As one of the country’s largest entertainment providers, Operatunity performs to over 65,000 seniors each year across 24 New Zealand venues. They also host musical tours travelling around NZ and abroad. COVID-19 hit the business hard, but the duo skilfully navigated their team through the worst, returning to audiences this July with their Stage and Screen national concert tour, and launch of their New Zealand Travel Bubble Brochure. They knew however, that not all New Zealanders had emerged from the crisis in such good stead, thus inspiring their latest initiative, S.O.F.A.
S.O.F.A stands for Seniors Offering Families Assistance. Susan and John wanted to showcase seniors as strong, integral pillars of our community rather than vulnerable, a label often applied by media during the COVID-19 pandemic. Susan says, “The way seniors are portrayed in the media is very different to the fun, vibrant, resilient seniors I have the pleasure of meeting through my work each day. We’ve all been ‘sat on the sofa’ these past few months and now it’s time to get out and make a difference in our communities”.
Following discussions with foodbanks across the country, seniors attending Operatunity’s July Stage and Screen national concert tour are invited to bring the following; canned food (preferably not baked beans or spaghetti, these are well stocked!), pasta, rice, jams and spreads, long-life milk, cleaning products, toilet paper, sanitary items, nappies or toothpaste. These donations will be collected and passed on each day to a local food bank after each performance, meaning seniors are helping their own community. To top it off, Operatunity will also donate 100% of money collected from morning tea before the show.
Singer Alex Milligan, one of the team working behind the scenes says, “What’s so special about S.O.F.A is we are making a difference to people’s lives in not one, but two ways. We are helping Kiwi families get back on their feet, but also empowering seniors after COVID-19.” Ian Johnston, Coordinator of the Nelson Community Foodbank, a S.O.F.A recipient says, “I have been part of helping to feed families in need for over 2 years and the need is greater than ever. We are grateful to Operatunity in assisting to meeting the enormous task ahead.”