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

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