Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the Eve of 2013


Well, Christmas is behind us and 2013 is in front of us… I hope that everyone has had a wonderful time over Christmas and has come through the week alright. 2013 is going to be an exciting year with many great things in the pipeline. Yes, the Polite Team has a very good feeling about 2013. Just a few hours ago I created a Facebook events page for the first time ever. Quite an accomplishment for me to create something bigger than a post on my own wall, I can tell you, hahaha! Very exciting but wait, it gets better! Wait to hear what the events page is for… drumroll…… It’s for our next BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need! The first one of 2013. It will take place on Sunday 17 February in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. One of the most exciting things is to see how quickly and with how much enthusiasm people respond and how much they want to help. This is one of the things where Facebook is a terrific tool to reach many people. Thank you, Facebook J This BBQ will turn out to be another terrific, successful event. 

The other thing is that I woke up one morning just this past week, switched on my computer, and found the Signal Flare Facebook page that Grant had created. Fantastic! Just the kind of page we need. Rather than an events page, it is an ongoing kind of page, as of course life keeps happening also in between events, and people don’t stop needing assistance just because the BBQ was yesterday. With the Signal Flare page we can all stay in touch, keep the spirit of helping alive, and whenever anyone needs anything we can do a call for help/donations and organize what gets done. So, another great thing that will help us do our thing in 2013. Please have a look and Like it if you do.

To find the link on Facebook, please type in "Signal Flare, We are here to help those when they need it most". There is a link on that page which will bring you to our BBQ events page.

As this is my end-of-year blog post I thought I’d do a little update on a couple of people I wrote about. The young family in the caravan park are doing well. She has work selling the Big Issue and he looks after their little girl and is looking for work as well. A lot of their income went into buying food and Christmas presents for their four-and-a-half-year-old, so they do use their money wisely. They had a Christmas tree because they had a caravan to put it in. They very kindly invited the Polite Team over for Christmas lunch, but we already had commitments of our own. We are so proud of them! Then, the guy I wrote about before. The guy who lived in a lodge, who had gone off the drugs and alcohol, and who had been clean for two years because he wanted to do well to be granted more access to his little one. He also wanted to have a better environment for his little boy when he had him stay. A lot had happened since I spoke with him back then. He had left the lodge and had lived back on the streets. He went through a very difficult time, but right now he is finding his way back up once again. He is re-establishing relationships with some of his family and is hopeful for the future. Awesome. And lastly, the man who gave me the piñata. He came to our last BBQ. We spoke only briefly but he seemed to enjoy the event, and had found a few things to take that he really liked.

Wow, my last blog post for 2012… I just want to say how happy I am with this blog that I am honoured and proud to share with Grant. It’s been a privilege to be invited by him to do that, to raise awareness of homelessness issues and to help people in a very practical manner to gain access to the very basic necessities of life that other people so often take for granted. Like a toothbrush, to name but one such thing… You don’t usually hear people be excited about a toothbrush but trust me, for a lot of people having their own toothbrush is a treasure.

If you are thinking of ways to make your dollar stretch and help others, please consider using our donation button and donate towards Grant's wonderful coffee cart project. It is a project that will help many people get on their feet and build their future, and so your dollar will go a long way. It will help people whom you may never meet but who will have a better future because of it. For more information about this project, see Grant's previous blog post.

Finally, I would like to wish all our readers a fantastic, happy, peaceful and inspired New Year. Please be safe as you see in 2013, and we will meet again at the other side of New Year’s Eve. Bestest wishes everyone from the Polite Team!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team.
berniethepolitegirl@gmail.com

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grant the Polite Guy's Coffee Cart Start


Oh do I have some great news first. As a lot of you would know at our last BBQ there was Fiona Deadman who produces “The Great South East” T.V show. Well she filmed some of our event and it’s going to be air this Sunday 23rd on channel 7 at 6:30pm “Dreams for a better world”. I’m excited about it because any awareness this can bring to homelessness in Australia then I’m all for it.

In the past I wrote about putting a coffee cart together. It is a great idea where I only employ homeless or people in need to run it.  I’d quickly help get 2 people on their feet with make-overs and everything they need, then get them the best training (I know a guy that owns a coffee shop and said he’d train all staff for free) then give them a job which earns above award wage working the coffee cart.

But wait it gets better ha ha, from every cup of coffee sold the business would donate 20cents to holding the BBQ’s I do. So really I’d be helping 2 people get on their feet and then every cup of coffee they sold would be helping others to get on their feet as well.

Well the first thing I had to do was get a location. Hey I did it. I have 2 great locations which have agreed to having the cart there. Next thing I’d need is to confirm the training the people would need. I have done that and I myself will be doing it (So I know what I’m talking about and I can help others when asked) in the first week of January.

Now all I need is the carts. I have collected some money (Thank you Sally and others). I sat down and worked out with Nathan (coffee shop guy) that with signs, jugs and a whole lot of different things I’d need $5500 more for each cart and that’s getting someone to make it because brand new there about $12,000.

I’m not doing this to just help people get on their feet, I’m doing it to help so many people to change their lives in such a more positive way and the good thing is if people choose to move on to bigger and better things then hey I can help another homeless or person in need right away. But the best thing here is people will be getting a chance in life and learning skills and have a great start in hospitality industry that they can take anywhere.

I ask you this, if you haven’t already spent all your money on Christmas yet then maybe consider donating using the donating button or email grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com me for bank details. I’m going to make next year a great year for people who want to get on their feet by helping people with a hand up, not by giving them a hand out.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year, But of all things please be safe over the holidays.

Grant the Polite Guy


0412 190 011.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bernie's first BBQ that ROCKED

I know I have talked about pride before, in fact many times. Ha ha. But I once again feel nothing but pride again. The BBQ was a huge success. We didn’t get the numbers I wanted but hey I always want more so we can help more. If thousands turning up than I’d want more. A lot of people that turned up did get help and for some in a huge way. To me that’s what it’s all about.

As you would expect Bernie the Polite Girl, me and of course my little daughter “Jasmine the Polite Little Girl” turned up first about 7:30am with marquees and tables with the help of a few helpers. I remember thinking as we started about how my health has been bad with my back and the Leukaemia treatments and the fact that ‘Bernie the Polite Girl’ had done most of the work putting all this together, this is it, we have planned and worked hard for this day and all of us seemed excited that we were going to help so many. Which to me was nothing but heart.

Dalton’s Hospitality’s made an entrance with 5 big vehicles holding the kitchen for this event and all I could think of was how huge and great this is going to be. Now I’ve done a few of these BBQ’s and every-time it’s getting better. I know some really great people now too.

This being a bigger event then I have ever done Bernie the Polite Girl and I worked as a team putting everything together, the kitchen, marquees, tables, all the organizations set up their stalls to give information about their services, clothes were stacked up at the ready to given away for free, and the music was playing. We were ready.

We started being so proud that so many helpers came and gave up their time to help people in need when they needed it most. Bernie the Polite Girl and I kept putting homeless people with working people and saying things like “could you go with (name of person) and help him to get clothes and anything he needs please.” The idea is that a homeless person would not be alone and have what we thought was like a Buddy System. In a lot of cases it worked well and we could see working people sitting and talking with homeless on an equal level. As one unit.

The reason we thought this was such a great idea was because we thought if the homeless person felt more uplifted having a friend and talking to someone who was there to help and not care that they were homeless. (really anyone that came to help wanted to help someone that was homeless so why would they) Now I can’t take credit for this because it was Bernie’s idea. I think it worked well.

There was another reason and that’s, that we felt if working people spend more time with a or many homeless then it would hit home more about what it is like to be homeless. More of an understanding and some of the reasons why they were homeless.

We had many people thank us on the day and for some saying “It really opened my eyes, thank you for putting this event together” that’s working people thanking me for being able to help homeless and see why they were in the position they were in.

Come on guys we don’t need to put on an event for you to see or help homeless, these homeless people are someone’s Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Grand Parents.

I’d like to let people know that I didn’t do this on my own, I reached out and some amazing organizations banded together and said I’m there and helping anyway we can. These guys are who really put these BBQ’s together. All heart, I owe them so much for what they do. This is really the community coming together to help. But the one person that did more than anyone even me was Bernie the Polite Girl. I’m sure this event wouldn’t have happened without her working so hard. I can’t thank her enough.

Our Major Contributors are:

Craig from Connected.
This guy has help since my very first BBQ and really helped me out when I got started. Awesome with everything he does. I’m proud just to know him.

Dalton’s Hospitality.
 
 
 
Jerome Dalton is a legend with the golden heart he has. When Jerome found out about this event he raised his hand and said he’d take care of all food for a 1,000 homeless. He brought his amazing crew of Dalton’s Hospitality with all equipment for the day. It was 5star food and fresh juice making machines drinks all the way. While working hard getting all the cooking done Jerome also meet Wayne (a guy very much down on his luck and gave him a job to start the next day) I’m writing this in more detail later on.

Now when the event was done and finished Jerome’s crew packed up and finished, but this amazing guy stayed back to help us pack too. I am hard to impress, but with everything Jerome done I was impressed. I am proud to call Jerome a mate. Thank you

A & G Insurance
 
 
 
I contacted Ram (CEO of A & G Insurance) the guy right away wanted to know what he could do to help with this amazing event. They supplied a huge tent for shade and paid for the bus hire so we could pick people up and return from the Valley and Spring Hill. Now if that was it well awesome. But no Ram with the help of Robert put together 25 staff to come as helpers on the day and yes Ram and Robert were one of the first at the event. Bernie the polite Girl and I was proud to introduce them to many homeless. I think both Ram and the homeless got a lot out of it on the day.  Thank you

Streetsmart
 
 
 
Are an amazing organization which donated $500 towards this event and helped to promote the event which Bernie put this together and did all the work with this one. Streetsmart are going to be meeting us in the future to help us to get better results. We need all the help we can get. Ha ha. Thank you




Second Bite.
 
 
 
These guys are so good, they turned up with ONE TONNE of fruit for this event and really helped make this event that much more awesome. Once again Bernie did all the contacts and made this happen. Thank you

There were so many organizations that came and even people that helped in such a huge way on their own. I thank you and will get to write about a lot of you as I go.

Wayne the Man.

Wayne lives in a lodge which his long term girlfriend lives in a lodge next door because it’s cheaper for them. These lodges are cheap but not nice. But there better off than being on the streets.



Wayne is the type of the guys we are always looking for when trying to help someone because all he talked about is getting on his feet and getting over the hard times he’s facing. I told him to come to the BBQ and we could help with job interview clothes and things like that. Well he turned up and went straight for the clothes and I noticed that he really was looking for job interview clothes.

I was busy with everything else with the BBQ but I pulled Wayne aside and said mate does it matter what kind of work your looking for? He said Grant I just want to get on my feet as soon as I can. I asked him to wait seated for a moment and went straight to my mate Jerome Dalton and said “Mate I have someone just down on his luck, but I really think he’s trying so would you consider just talking to him?” Jerome looked around at all the people in need and said right away “Of course mate I’d be happy to”

They meet and sat on the grass to talk. Wayne came to me hugged me, thanking me many times and was so excited to be having a job. He started to tear up and I quickly told him not to because we have to quickly get him work clothes and shoes for kitchen work, but the real reason was if he started tears then I would too because I was so happy for him. We got him clothes and the right shoes for him. He continued to thank me many of times when I stopped him and said “Mate I need a favour” he said “anything Grant” I said “Mate get on your feet and then come back and help someone else on the next BBQ” He hugged me again and said “Mate you got it”

I have a tear now because while writing this 5 days after that event, I know he worked everyday and done 35 hours. Jerome is happy with him and I know it’s a great start for Wayne to get on his feet. I wish Wayne all the best and I’ll always be here if he falls off the tracks again.

This is why I do these BBQ and help people, because people get help.

I know a lot of people have sent me a mountain of emails saying how great I was because of this event, I wish I could take the credit but I can’t because Bernie the Polite Girl did most of planning and putting it all together. She even put together most of the organizations that came. My health has be pretty bad so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.

Bernie the Polite Girl will be taking over these BBQ’s as my replacement, but don’t worry I will always be here to help her with everything I have as well. I just want to make sure these events go on because we do help so many.

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy
Email and Facebook grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com
Twitter @grantpoliteguy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Christmas BBQ: a Terrific Day in the Sun


Grant and I both have our own stories to tell about the BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need of last Sunday 2 December, and we will both write about it in our posts here. I thought I’d put some photos in as I go so you have a better idea of how it was. One photo says more than a million words isn’t it J

And what a wonderful day Sunday was! Musgrave Park was a wonderful place in the sun where people gathered to celebrate Christmas (we even had Santa coming!), to share food, drinks, clothes, shoes, toiletries and many more things, and to share the company of people from all different walks of life. The notion behind an event like this is that people with very little possessions and without a roof over their heads are people just like others who do have homes and jobs and the whole rigmarole. At an event like this everyone meets as equals, and that works miracles for all parties, because on a very basic level we are all the same and we all want the same.

Rainman, Katarina, and Santa with the Polite Team 
It was a very early start for us who got up with the sun to set up marquees, unfold tables, unload utes, and carry mega packs of drinks, but the mood was spectacular right from the word go. We were all buzzing with excitement about the day ahead and we helped each other, and before too long we could see the event area take shape, but the place was not complete until Dalton Hospitality arrived (still early!) with several vehicles loaded with food and equipment.  We had a few early guests who were very welcome and who were already very much looking forward to the day ahead. Wonderful to feel and see their anticipation! Fiona Deadman and The Great South East arrived early as well – yes we will be on TV around Christmas; watch this space for the details, folks!

One of Dalton Hospitality's vehicles
 It was still very early in the morning when I went back to the storage space with John, to upload the ute with bags and boxes full of goods. After a little incident on the Inner City Bypass (we lost a shirt and tried to prevent that from happening again) we arrived back safely at Musgrave Park – with all the goods except that one shirt, hahaha. And the park was so much fuller! All the marquees were up, the organizations and others were busy getting their goods on the tables, the place was alive with homeless and other people in need, and it was not even 10AM yet – the time the event officially kicked off. And to see all that coming together so beautifully in the park for real, to see that so many people had a good time at this event that we had organized, oh man, it almost made me cry but I could contain myself.

Lovely to see!
 Early-ish in the day I went to have a chat with the group of indigenous people that sat a bit further down from the BBQ. They were extremely friendly, shook hands and introduced themselves. I enquired if they had had a feed at our BBQ and they had. They also had had a look at our clothes and had taken a few things. One of them said this was their park. I acknowledged this, and thanked them for having us. They replied it was their absolute pleasure. Their appreciation was huge; just a few simple words of acknowledgement and gratitude went a long way.

One of the absolute highlights for the Polite Team was the fact that three people who came to attend our BBQ walked away as employed people having obtained jobs, two with a landscaping business and one with Dalton Hospitality. Here’s a photo of the Polite Team and Wayne, who started his job with Dalton Hospitality within 24 hours after attending the BBQ:

With Wayne, now employed by Dalton Hospitality
We were very well looked after with staff from Dalton Hospitality doing the rounds several times, keeping us hydrated with freshly squeezed orange juice and watermelon juice, staff from St John Ambulance went around generously applying sunscreen onto countless arms, shoulders, and legs. The Christmas spirit was not forgotten either with St John and Santa (and what a beautiful Santa he was!) handing out Christmas stockings and candy canes.

Dalton Hospitality staff handing out a watermelon juice to one of our guests.
Santa!!! 
Like at the last BBQ we had, I was moved by the consideration homeless people showed others; they saw piles and piles of good quality clothes, shoes and what have you, and everything was for free: as long as they could carry it, it was theirs. Without exception these were people with very few possessions, but many of them were careful not to take too many things as others might need it more. And even though there was plenty (and I do mean plenty!) of food, they were also very careful not to have too much as they were very aware there were others needing a feed as well. We could all learn a lot from these people.

It was the first time that we had a shuttle bus driving people to and from the event, and what a great idea that was! People made good use of the service, the atmosphere was great when people waited to be transported and without a doubt even greater when on the road. Thank you Jay, for driving tirelessly and kindly.

Happy people after a great day in the sun, waiting to be driven back to the Valley and Spring Hill
Finally, before signing off, a word of thanks to everyone who made this event happen. Without each and every one of you this event would not have been the same. Thank you to the many volunteers and to the businesses who contributed in fantastic ways. I tried to keep it alphabetical but somehow it did not work entirely:









Making a Difference - Brisbane









Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team 
berniethepolitegirl@gmail.com 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

24 hours before a BBQ


Well I’ve been here many of times before,2am and 24 hours before putting on a BBQ for the homeless and worrying about if there’s enough food, drinks, clothes, chairs, marquees, toiletries, helpers and of course is there enough homeless and people in need to help. You see I only do this to help as many people as I can, not to see how big I can put an event together.

 

I know how these events have helped so many people in the past and I couldn’t be prouder to know I never done it for them, but to have helped them to do it themselves.

 

I was just reminded about a saying something I’d say a lot a year ago and it seems to fit perfectly right now. “Sometimes just saying Hi could be that turn around for someone in life because someone cares.” I really think that’s why these BBQ’s are so successful. We have a homeless person sitting eating a hamburger next to a working person eating a hamburger and talking. Trust me some of it rubs off and a lot of homeless and people in need start feeling more value in themselves and head towards getting on their feet.

 

At these BBQ’s I’m always looking for the ones that really want to get on their feet and then I grab them and really start to help them as much as I can without looking like I’m doing it for them. I feel if a person feels they didn’t do it themselves then they will think they couldn’t have done it and soon believe it’s okay to fail because they weren’t ready.

 

This is the biggest event I have ever put together, I mean we expect 1,000 homeless/ people in need turning up. There’s more organizations coming and because we had to change our date I lost one of my biggest backers. OHNO. Ha ha

 

In a way I can’t wait until tomorrow morning at the start of the event, because then there’s two things happening.

1/ what is there is there and I done the best I could and I stop worrying about what is needed, because it’s too late.

2/ Once everything is setup then there’s only helping people left to do and that’s what all this work is for.

 

I got to say seeing homeless and people in need picking up clothes and things and being helped by all the helpers around them is one of the most joyest moments there is for me.

 

I have to make this post short because I have so much to do and I started writing this as a break from everything. But I only have 24 hours left and too much to do.

 

Thank you very much for reading my blog and if you can come down and give a hand for this event please do. I hope you all have a great day.

 

BBQ for the Homeless

Musgrave Park

10am to 2pm Sunday 2 Dec

 

Grant the Polite Guy from the Polite Team

0412 190 011


Twitter @grantpoliteguy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Family in Caravan Park and Christmas BBQ - an Update


Where to start when there is so much to say… I haven't figured out yet how to rotate photos on the blog, so my apologies, you will have to tilt your heads... Am working on it! Three stories in one post, here we go.

First of all, a massive thank you to those generous people who offered to help the family in the caravan park whom I wrote about in my last blog post. Help ranged from monetary donations right through to an offer to share accommodation. This family has experienced how much other people believe in them, and they too believe now that they can turn things around. They have determination, hope for the future, and smiles on their faces. The guy is looking to find work. Just great.

Here’s an example of people’s generosity and compassion for total strangers. I received an email from Kathy, a lady who read my blog post. Because she lives in New South Wales she could not give any pots, pans, or anything else that was on our list of much needed items. However, she did want to help this family build a better future. She generously donated money so on her behalf we could buy some of the basics the family was so in need of.

The Polite Team don’t like to waste any time, so the next day (Thursday) we took the couple shopping. They were so excited and headed straight for the kitchen department. The guy is the cook in the family, has a passion for cooking, and with no hesitation he picked a slow cooker first. Then they went on to carefully choose a set of two cutting boards, a masher, and a set of containers. We chucked in a bag of mixed nuts as a little gift. They were so grateful for the goodness of others who they would probably never meet but who donated money and therewith told them they believed in them. Nothing could wipe the smiles off their faces, I tell ya, and they were very proud to have their photo taken for this blog. The girl said several times that she was so happy she just wanted to give us something too, but she didn’t have anything. But really, the smiles on their faces was all we wanted to see, and what more could we wish for than for them to do well, and I told her so. We do have a dinner invitation for the future in our pocket though J And I could report to Kathy how her money was spent and how happy the family were. Thank you, Kathy!


After shopping with the couple, I got in the car with Mick and Garry with posters on my mind and in my bag, while Grant went to work on another project. Mick, Garry and I covered part of the North side distributing posters for our Christmas BBQ to homeless centres, lodges and hostels. Garry had a 6-page list of accommodation for the homeless, but surely with his mind-boggling knowledge he knew a few places that had not made it to the list!

Many thanks to Garry, who gave up his lunch hour rush to be our guide and who, apart from knowledge, also had a photographic map in his head so we could cover all places efficiently without driving back and forth. Without Garry we would not have covered so many places in one afternoon and include a little lunch break as well. And many thanks to Mick, for driving us tirelessly, making some last-minute, James-Bond-like turn-offs safely, and waiting patiently while Garry and I visited the accommodation places, introduced ourselves and left posters. Thank you both so much for giving your afternoon. And thank you, Grant, for your care, and for calling in several times to see if everything was alright.

And an awesome and hands-on afternoon it was! It was good to see what a whopping number of rooms there is for homeless people to rent, but overwhelming and sad to know that despite all these many places there are still way too few available for all the homeless people or, although rundown, they are too expensive to afford. We went to major homeless accommodation centres like Pindari and the Three Mansions, to places like Roma House, and to smaller lodges that don’t all have names. Without exception we were welcomed very warmly, and staff everywhere was keen to display our poster and encourage their residents/clients to attend the BBQ.

Kym, who works at either the Three Mansions or at Roma House (sorry, I visited so many places I don’t remember exactly) very kindly offered to place our poster in their newsletter if I could send her an electronic version. Deal, easily done! She gave me her card, and she works for Queensland Shelter. Garry, knowledgeable as he is, told me their newsletter goes out every Monday, and we are so excited to know that the notification of our event will reach that many more people because of Kym’s goodness. Thank you, Kym!

With Garry and Mick, gearing up to cover homeless accommodation places on the North side.

Handing out posters with Garry. This was at the 139 Club in the Valley.


The BBQ itself is going to be GREAT AND BIG and seems to get bigger by the day believe it or not! BBQs have never been this big before. We have so much interest of people wanting to contribute, such wonderful input from expected and unexpected corners, so much good will. Truly, Christmas has come very early for the Polite Team in that sense, as we already get to enjoy the Christmas spirit (and I am generously passing it on here, haha). Christmas is going to be spectacular for so many people this year, because they have either the warm feeling of selflessly having done something really good for others, or the warm feeling of knowing that people care about them enough to donate clothes, shoes, toiletries, toys, the list goes on. No one who comes to the BBQ will need to leave empty-handed.

Let me tell you about the latest contribution. Happened yesterday morning. Grant had a lovely day off, and asked me to call a lady who had called him and who had a massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) amount of shoes to get rid of in a hurry. She had collected them to donate and would keep collecting for the next two weeks – until the BBQ. I called this lady and she was very happy and relieved for the shoes to go to our BBQ. I organized pick-up with Lee (thank you, Lee!), and we will have the shoes in storage until the event. Helps the lady empty her limited storage space and makes space for her to collect more shoes between now and the BBQ J

As Grant said in his blog post, we need $1,500 to cover costs. To date, we have received $120. He suggested if 30 people donate $50 that would be the amount covered. However, smaller amounts are of course very welcome too, and get even more people involved in giving. The idea is that this is a community event, by the community for the community. If you do want to donate, there is a donate button on the right side of the blog, towards the top. Feel free to use that button, or contact us. Grant will write a thank-you post when all the money has been received.

Thank you all for reading, and have a great day!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from the Polite Team

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Too Big, Need Help Please


Most people that know me say “Grant you do a great thing!” To tell you the truth I feel guilty sometimes because, well yes I am always trying to help but I couldn’t do it without the help of everyone else coming together as a community. Just to give you an idea I’m going to mention a wonder just wonder person Kitty Art (Facebook name)

Kitty Art Helps with our Facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/493716907326056/501990626498684/?notif_t=event_mall_reply now when I say helps I mean she started it and keeps it running. A lot of people know I’m not good with computers and really don’t like them that much. Face to face in person is much better and personal. Ha ha.

I’m famous for doing my ‘Pie and Coke’ were I buy a homeless person a meal and just sit and listen while they eat. I give them a mate to talk too and also sometimes help them to get on their feet but just talking. When their ready to get on their feet I’m there waiting with my ‘Pie and Coke’ to help.

Kiity Art called me and I told her I needed help with my phone (Yes it’s like a computer, haha). Right away Kitty Art asks me to meet her and starts working on it. Soon later we are walking to the best pie shop in Brisbane to get pies and coke for ourselves Kitty Art pays and then puts a $100 on store credit so I can do my ‘Pie and Coke’ more often. You see up until now I have always paid for the meals from working as a Big Issue seller.

Now I must say I did celebrate by doing ‘Pies and Cokes’ for 5 homeless people in 2 days already. One thing I do know and that’s, my calling is to help people in need when they need it most and one thing that’s for sure, I couldn’t have done it over the last 2 days without Kitty's help because I didn’t make enough money to do so.

So please when you think I do a lot of good for the homeless please think of people with a huge heart like Kitty Art Because I do.

 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now I know a lot of you know about my BBQ’s for the homeless and people in need. But just in case I’m going to recap on what we do, because I need help.

Homeless and people in need come to the BBQ event were all the food and drinks are free and there’s tables and tables of clothes, toiletries, kids toys, blankets/sleeping bags and much more are given free with only one condition and that’s “If they can carry it it’s free” 

Here at these events it’s the community coming together to help, I ask thousands of people to donate clothes and everything needed for it. So when I say it’s the community coming together to help I’m right because it’s where I get everything.

Now the benefits of this event is we get clothes and everything needed to help the homeless while looking for the ones that want to get on their feet. That’s when I do my best work because I’ll help someone get on their feet with everything I have or can get hold of.

But I guess one of the most important things about these BBQ’s is you have working people sitting down eating and talking to a homeless person eating and both chatting. Trust me when I say some rubs off and the homeless starts to really feel more a part of society. Well that’s be aim.

Next event:
Musgrave Park
2nd of December
10am to 2pm

Now to mention a minor problem. These BBQ’s are getting a lot bigger than before and even though we have Dalton Hospitality helping with cost we need around $1500 more to pay for more food and drinks. I guess 1000 homeless eat and drink a lot. Ha ha. Now I must say I thought of asking one or two people to try and pay this than I thought why should one or two people pay so much when there’s so many people willing to help and feel good that they are doing something so great.

So I’m thinking if 30 people donate $50 then we will have the $1500 needed and it’ll be even more like the community is coming together to help. Now I know $50 is a lot of money but really look what we are going to do with it.

There’s even more of a need for people to come on the day and help out now because there’s going to be that many more homeless.

Now I have a donation button on this blog if easier, but please mention that your donation is for BBQ. I work the city most weekdays at Post Office Square on Queens St if people want to hand to me or on the 30th of Nov I’m collecting whatever clothes, toiletries, blankets/sleeping bags, tin food, anything people want to donate and of course money for the extra food and things that come up on the day.

I’d like to thank everyone for reading this blog and I hope you all have a great day, remember on the 2nd of Dec at Musgrave Park there’s a great BBQ to help people in need when they need it most. So please come and help out on the day and show the community coming together.

I would like to add that any monies left over will be going towards getting a Christmas Ball which we will put a homeless person’s name on it and hand out on the day.

Grant the Polite Guy from The Polite Team
grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com
0412 190 011

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pie and Coke Buzz and call for help


This afternoon Grant and I were in the city to do our Pie and Coke as the Polite Team, and in Post Office Square Park we stumbled upon this young couple who were homeless last week. We shared some pies and a sausage roll with them, and checked in to see how they were doing. Between last week and now they had found temporary accommodation, and they had moved in there just a few days ago. The Polite Team were very excited to hear they had gotten on their feet in a sense, and seeing people get on their feet is one of the most inspirational things to witness. They now live in a caravan in a caravan park in one of the suburbs. Not the best caravan park around (and that is an understatement!), and not the crim-safest caravan park either (again, an understatement) but considering what they have to pay in rent you would think it was. With the homeless it is known as a quite famous – or infamous! – caravan park. The only benefit it has over other places of similar rental prices is that no bond is required when you move in, which makes it attractive for people who, like most homeless people, can’t afford to pay bond. In return, it puts the price up. Most homeless people also can’t afford the high rent in the long term either, so they are often only able to stay there for a short while. It's a population of people who are constantly coming and going.

This couple have a four and a half year old little one, and the way the caravan park was described to me, I could understand they did not want her there for too long, and paying the rent long-term would be an issue. So whichever way you turn it, they will not stay there for long. The dodgy caravan park is the first step out of homelessness for this family, a roof over their heads, they are doing better than they have been, and are on to better things. On to better things fast, I hope. They deserve it.

The Polite Team were able to help them out with a much-needed pair of pants, a jacket and a blanket this afternoon, taken from our secret stash of donations for the BBQ, and their visible joy and the smiles on their faces were so rewarding. I felt privileged to be able to pick up a rather fancy looking quilt/cushion from our stash and hand it to them. You can use it as a cushion, but when zipped open it turns into a quilt. They were so happy it felt like Christmas for both them and me. I pointed out the word “cosy” on the package of the quilt and we had the giggles together.

As Grant was away for a little while to get the jacket for the guy, the girl told me he had given her the shoes she was wearing. The shoes she had before were too little and hurt her feet, and then Grant got her the current shoes and they were so comfortable. Perfect for her. Since she walked so much it made all the difference. For me, this story was a touching little aside. 

They were a very nice couple to meet. We gave them ten bucks to top up their Go Cards. They were most grateful and generously offered  their ten-dollar voucher from Woolworth in exchange, which gave us another glimpse of who they were as people. We politely declined the vouchers, and were happy to see later on that they spent them on food.

This little family has moved from place to place and then became homeless, and in the process they lost everything they had; it’s very easy to lose things when you’re constantly moving and when you have no home to keep your things safe.

This family are in urgent need of some basics:

kitchen utensils
pots and pans
toaster
plates
glasses
tea towels
bath towels
double-bed sheets
blankets
pillows

Anyone interested in donating any of these things to this family, please drop off to Grant at Post Office Square tomorrow Tuesday 13 November between 7:00 and 8:45AM, or Wednesday 14 November between 7:00AM and 2:00PM.

We talked to the couple about the BBQ – they had already heard about it. Woohoo, the word about the BBQ is already spreading quite nicely! Wait till we start promoting it :-) They are wanting to come and we are looking forward to seeing them there; we advised them to bring big bags :-)

Please note that for the BBQ (Sunday 2 December) we need clothes in all sizes from baby clothes right up to XXXL, shoes, toiletries (including nail clippers), back packs, children’s toys. Canned foods are very welcome too. Although donations can be delivered prior to Friday 30th, the main drop-off day for any donations would be Friday 30 November between 7:00AM and 2:00PM – please drop off to Grant at Post Office Square or to Keith at Buffed Shoe Shining Service in the foyer of the BOQ Building, 259 Queen Street.

Our next blog post is not far away – watch this space and have a great day everyone!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from the Polite Team
berniethepolitegirl@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Polite Team Part 2


Reading Grant’s latest blog post “The Polite Team”, I have to admit I was very silent for a while there, being moved by the very kind things he has been writing about me (no swell head here, I can assure you!). I know he is pissing in my pocket just a little bit because of course I was going to read his post (haha), but I do know he thinks very highly of me and that is an absolute honour, because if such high praises come from someone as honest as Grant, you gotta treasure it.

Grant has done so much helping homeless people and others in need, and although I have helped many people in other capacities as well, teaming up with him has been an honour and a delight and an inspiration, and talking with the people I help with him or by myself has been heart-warming. A very enriching experience, very different and in very different settings from my other helping roles. Working with Grant’s network is a very refreshing way of working with others to help people.

I do realize Grant has been doing BBQs and things by himself for a long time and has built a large network of people who help him out with what is needed. The people I have personally met so far have all been incredibly nice and friendly. However I know that some people may not like that Grant has teamed up with me as The Polite Team but really, as Grant said, all that matters is the people that are helped. There are no changes in that regard, except that Grant now shares the load with me and like he said, if one of us isn’t around the other can still help. The BBQs will continue to exist, the only difference is that Grant and I rather than Grant on his own will put them together. I hope all you helpers out there will continue to help and I am looking forward to meeting you all if I haven’t already. I have met some of you and it has been great. So many wonderful people out there!

Now, speaking of helpers, this BBQ that we are going to have on Sunday 2 December promises to be spectacular. The Polite Team is looking forward to a very special and memorable Christmas BBQ. If anyone is looking how to help, we do still need soft drinks and marquees for the event. Although it can be done earlier as well, Friday 30 November is the main day to drop off clothes, toiletries and other donations to Grant at Post Office Square or to Keith from Buffed Shoe Shining Service inside the BOQ building, 259 Queen Street, preferably between 7-9AM but we will be collecting until 2PM. For any news about the BBQ watch this space.

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I’d like to share this little story with you, because it made the day livelier for a few people. I was in the city the other day and bumped into a tall man (let’s call him Joe) who carried along something of colourful making. It was a big colourful face, made of different kinds and colours of paper which, so I heard later, was a piñata: a Mexican type of container for toys or candy. I don’t know if Joe was homeless or if he just spent a lot of time on the street, and I wouldn’t want to assume.

Anyway, Joe was in the city and we had a little chat. I said something about the colourful face he carried in his hand, about how nice and colourful it was. He smiled, was very modest about it then said a few nice things about it, and handed it to me as a gift. I was very happy with this unexpected surprise – it had been an ordinary Thursday so far - and thanked him. Then he crossed the street, only to stop in the middle of the road, turn around, look at me with a broad grin and gave me the thumbs-up. I gave him the thumbs-up back, and he was visibly happy with that. Meanwhile cars had started to stop on the road because Joe was standing right in the middle of their lane giving me the thumbs-up. The driver of the front car started to honk, Joe walked up to the car, obviously not impressed. No, the driver did not end up getting out of the car and Joe didn’t end up dragging him out. There was some contest for a while of who would be the bigger convincer: the driver honking or Joe making huge arm gestures. In the end Joe was the wiser party and continued his walk across the street, the drivers continued their trips and all was good. Just life in the big city, often grey and rushed, got more colourful for a little while.

I took the piñata with me in the bus, placing it on the seat next to me. My fellow passengers looked at it and it brought smiles to some faces: Joe made not only my life a little more colourful that day, but also the lives of the other people. The snowball effect of a friendly deed. You never know how something simple you say or do might impact on others, might make them smile, might make their day better, even if you don't know them.

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team.
 berniethepolitegirl@gmail.com 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Polite Team


The Polite Team,

 

A lot of people don’t know or understand what the ‘Polite Team’ means or is.
 
It’s true I carried the name and if you want to call it, the title of ‘Grant the Polite Guy’ for years now and I was always proud to say and use it because people knew the name as someone that helped people in need and homeless of course for being polite too. Haha. I always say “It cost nothing to be polite so I have heaps”

Bernie the Polite Girl was born and I couldn’t have been prouder, I have mentioned it before, but yes she’s very polite and even more so than me helps people in need and the homeless in ways that I wish I could. She has more heart and never stops working on helping.

The Polite Team began with the two of us starting to work as a team so we can help so many more people together as a team. So far this has been very successful with many more people being helped as we work together.

Now I’m not letting Bernie read this before posting, but some people know my health isn’t the best and to be honest if I was to pick a replacement for me then I couldn’t have picked a better one then Bernie (I hope she don’t get a swell head because of this, haha)

We wanted to form a ‘Polite Team’ because if one of us isn’t around then the other would be able to help instead. To be honest it’s the people getting help that matters. But look at it this way, instead of one polite guy there’s a polite team of two. AWESOME no matter how you look at it. Haha

I have been looking at the stats of this blog and I know a lot of readers don’t agree and don’t read this blog. Well if you ever read this I’m sorry you feel like I have joined a team but really think about it, I was always doing it on my own and everything got bigger, the amount of people being helped, BBQ’s for the homeless got bigger and I’m not scared to say I started being overwhelmed and did need someone like ‘Bernie the Polite Girl’ to help.

If I was to be really honest, Bernie helped me through a really tough time, which I’m not ready to talk about right now. But know that even I have tough times and as positive as I am, I needed someone to talk too.  So I ask that you all show her the respect that you would me, not because I’m asking, but because she has done far more than me but has never written about it in a blog like I did.

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Now some people still don’t know everything about the BBQ on the 2nd of December. So here’s everything so far.

Christmas BBQ for the Homeless and People in need.

Musgrave Park

10am to 2pm

Everything at this event is free.

There’s only one rule ‘If you can carry it, it’s yours’

People can help by donating clothes, toiletries, at Post Office Square, Queen St between 7am to 2pm on the 30th  November. Also at Anzac Tunnel between 3:30pm to 6pm on the 30th November.

Now this is important, so far there’s a huge need for marquees (free standing), tables, toiletries (also ladies toiletries) and clothes. But the biggest need is helpers for handing out flyiers before the BBQ and on the day.

This is going to be bigger then we have ever had in the past before so I’m asking if people can help then please do. Let’s work as a team and show the homeless and people in need that the community is coming together to help.

One thing I always keep thinking to myself and that’s ‘helping someone in need can’t be a bad thing, but an honour, because everyone hits bad times and wishes someone would help.’

I hope you all have a good day and thank you for reading my blog. Please share this post and maybe others will be helping others as well. There’s the little blue F and B at the bottom of this post.

Thank you again.
Grant the Polite Guy from the Polite Team.
0142 190 011
grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com
@grantpoliteguy (twitter)
Grant Richards (Facebook)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Balls for the Homeless


As people know I was asking for clothes and things for 3 homeless people who had lost everything over the weekend. The results were fantastic, Help came from everywhere and most of all that were lost were replaced. I have to say there’s nothing worst then being down on your luck and then trying to put together a few things just to live only to lose it all. I keep saying I wish people could come with me to hand things like this out because their smiles and the thank you’s makes my so proud of what I do. Helping people in need.

I would like to say a few words about 2 amazing people that went far and beyond anything I asked for.




Rachel Turner caught a train to the city and handed me lots of beautiful clothes and told me all about how she had just rescued a dog from the pound. Very proud as she showed me pictures as well. An amazing person.

Oddur Thomas Augustsson or “Tom” for short is a very good mate of mine. He’s helped many of times with different things to do with the homeless, also he’s one of my best customers who buys my magazines and Amway products. But this day to help 3 people he’ll never meet he went out and bought clothes and from home got a towel and things as well. The guy is awesome and I’m proud to call him a mate.



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Now I’ve been so excited to share this news, but I couldn’t because I wanted to make sure it was all going together properly first.

Christmas BBQ for the Homeless 
When: Sunday 2 December
Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane
Time: 10:00AM - 2:00PM

I am all about showing the homeless that the community is coming together to help with these events. I thought about Christmas and was thinking what a better time to do it. Really Christmas time is about families and friends coming together.

How to make it so homeless get the Christmas feeling? We will give the homeless balls. Haha Stop laughing it’s Christmas Balls I’m talking about. I’m thinking we get a art pen and write their name on them and give a ball and a Christmas card. Now I just had a heart felt moment of thinking, if even just one person keeps that ball and looks at it or even hangs it up on Christmas Night then it’ll be worth it to hand them out.

So what do we need to put this BBQ event together for maybe 1,000 homeless and people in need?

Clothes and lots of them,

Blankets and sleeping bags

Toiletries

Drinks (Bottled water/ soft drinks)

Christmas balls

Christmas cards

A mountain of helpers to hand out flyiers before the event to homeless

A mountain of helpers on the day

Flyiers made up

Beer for Grant for doing great job. Haha


I would put food and insurance but it’s taken care of by Jerome Dalton from Dalton’s Hospitality. (There awesome)

Now remember our golden rule, it’s all they can eat and all clothes and everything there is free if they can carry it. We have had such success with these BBQ’S and helped so many people with just clothes and things, for some helping to get on their feet. I must say it makes me proud that people like you make this happen. Let’s band together and show the community coming together.


For a more up to dates about this BBQ please go to
https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/493716907326056/ 

Thank you very much for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy

Friday, October 26, 2012

Our Next BBQ for the Homeless and Others In Need


It’s been a while but we have the next BBQ for the Homeless coming up, folks! We are all up, running and inspired, and it’s going to be great. Here are the details:

WHAT:                  CHRISTMAS BBQ FOR THE HOMELESS AND OTHERS IN NEED
WHERE:                MUSGRAVE PARK, SOUTH BRISBANE
WHEN:                  SUNDAY 2 DECEMBER
TIME:                    10:00AM – 2:00PM

Free BBQ plus free clothes, shoes, bags, toiletries etc to collect for homeless people and others in need: when they can take it with them, it’s theirs. Plus there will be a Christmas surprise for everyone.

Being pretty new to the whole thing but learning fast, I have to say the buzz you get from handing out flyers in the days leading up to the event followed by the BBQ itself is like no other. When someone’s reason to hug you is the fact that you said one simple word, “hello”, you can see the need: the need of disadvantaged people to be part of the community. You can also see that it's not happening enough. When this happens to you, you cannot NOT know, and you change. Actually, it is quite sad that a simple and basic “hello” can make people so overwhelmingly happy because it should be quite normal to be said hello to.

This happened to me with the second person I handed a flyer to. He was an elderly, indigenous man sitting on a little wall in Fortitude Valley. I walked up to him, smiled and said hello. It was amazing how his face changed when it lit up. He looked so happy, stood up and hugged me like I was a long lost friend. A friendly “hello” was all it took. He had a lot of hair and a long beard which got all in my face, but it didn't matter. When I gave him the flyer and told him what it was all about, he invited me to sit next to him on the wall, he took his little Bible out of his pocket, folded the flyer down the middle very carefully, put it in there, and started to explain his Bible to me. It was one for indigenous people, with an indigenous cover. As we were talking three other indigenous men came to stand a couple of metres away, just watching us, and probably making sure that their mate was OK. I told them about the BBQ and handed them flyers as well.

It is this kind of thing that makes you realize how important these BBQs are, not just for the food and clothes, but also and especially because of the interaction, because people feel they are acknowledged as people. One lady at Grant’s BBQ told me I had made her feel so welcome, as I had welcomed her with a very real smile as she arrived that morning, and she wasn’t used to getting many of those. Making people feel worthy and making them feel the human being they are really is a very simple thing to do, and so worthwhile. Anyone can do it.

These are some of the reasons why we believe in the BBQs. There is a lot of work to be done for the upcoming Christmas BBQ. We are so grateful to have Dalton Hospitality on board to help out with food, equipment, people and insurance; our appreciation of Dalton’s generosity is beyond words. The dedicated people of Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy will also generously lend their support as always, and we are so honoured to have them; thank you, guys! There will be homelessness services available to assist people in various matters.

You can help by giving clothes, shoes, toiletries, bags, etc. Also, to let homeless people and others in need know we have this event coming up, we need to meet them where they are: on the streets, in the boarding houses, hostels and lodges. We will need volunteers to go and to hand out flyers (we will be doing this ourselves as well) and to help out on the day sorting clothes, shoes and other things, and to assist people with various things. Let us know if you want to help make this Christmas BBQ special for a lot of people – and we do expect a lot of people. The community coming together for the community...

Not a very long post this time, but I think it has the info. We are looking forward to the BBQ and we enjoy the preparations and seeing the event come together more and more. Gotta fly, have a great day and be safe, everyone!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl