Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grant the Polite Guy and the BBQs from the Inside Out

Today I would like to write about Grant (don’t tell him, haha) and the BBQs for the Homeless and Others in Need. Grant’s vision of a better world inspires me so much to help organize the BBQs, and I feel very humbled having been asked by him to do it and to write in this blog with him. Having been homeless himself for a year and a half, he knows what it’s like: very unpleasant, to put it nicely. He knows what it’s like to have only a bag with everything you own in it; he knows the feeling of having that bag stolen multiple times and to end up with literally nothing over and over again. He knows what it’s like to not know where your next meal would come from, to not know where you would sleep tonight, to not be able to sleep tightly because you have to mind your environment at the same time for your own safety. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. With all this life experience, he wants to help other people stop going through what he went through. When he was still homeless he already organized these BBQs for other homeless people and others in need. Not for himself, as while being homeless himself, he never took any donations from his own BBQs.

Over time, organizing these events has become and is becoming bigger and bigger as we go, so are the BBQs themselves, and we, too, are growing in what we do. Again, I feel privileged to have been asked by Grant to be a part of it. The Polite Team rocks, and I am so proud that we get this done each time with little more than a lot of heart, passion, and enthusiasm.  

Our next event, in under three weeks from now, will be in Ipswich, which feels like a bit of an adventure to me. When we planned this BBQ we didn’t know any organizations in Ipswich, or even where to go to contact the homeless and people in need there. We were very grateful to have been invited to a meeting in Ipswich regarding homelessness and housing, and we met with people from organizations there who showed a lot of goodwill and support for us to have our BBQ in Ipswich, to spread the word to their clients, and to come to the event to provide assistance and information. We do believe our event would be very helpful in the Ipswich area, and we are expecting large numbers of guests.

I am looking forward to the day when a convoy of utes and trailers will turn up at our storage space in Brisbane when the kookaburras have only just started laughing, and will be loaded up with goods that have been donated by the good people of Brisbane to let the homeless feel they are part of the community. Then the convoy will be travelling to Browns Park in Ipswich, where marquees and tables will be set up, and the first load of donations will be displayed: the clothes, shoes, toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets, children’s toys, canned foods and other items. The first guests will arrive very early and will help us set up. Dalton Hospitality and staff will arrive and set up their mobile kitchen and equipment. When all has been set up the homeless organizations will arrive, take their places and set up their stalls, informative materials and banners, and at 10am we will kick off.

It is always a thrill to see an event that we largely planned with the help of our computers and telephones become a successful event for real, in the park: touching to see our guests come in, to see happy and smiling volunteers, to see the hustle and bustle and feel the great atmosphere. So many people in such a good mood who will soon go on to enjoy a meal, socialize, find clothes and other items they love, and find assistance they need. Nobody is pushing to get things first. These people’s lives have taught them compassion. Their faces brighten up when you just show them a smile and show them they are human beings just like the rest of us. At these events everyone is equal. Whether you are homeless  or a CEO of a major business does not make any difference at our BBQs where everyone is equal, and everyone interacts on an even level. Many of our guests are very thoughtful of others. “I am careful not to take too much because other people may need it more” is something we hear a lot at these BBQs, and without exception those words are spoken by people who themselves have close to nothing.

And at the end of the event we will break down the marquees and tables again, the convoy of utes and trailers is back, and will be uploaded with those marquees and tables, and with any donations that have not been taken. The park will be spotless again come 2pm. Back to the storage space in Brisbane it goes, and once everything has been unloaded it’s time to kick back with drinks and snacks, and to look back on an event that undoubtedly was worth all the trouble and that had gone perfectly.

Because of Grant I have been touched by the plight of the homeless and have been given the opportunity to do something to help, and I am so thankful for this opportunity to hopefully touch their lives in a positive way. Grant is the heart and soul of these events, and I am proud to organize these events with him, and to make them reality on a close-to-zero budget.

It may come to no surprise, then, that I have nominated Grant in Sunsuper Dreams, which is a competition where the winner will receive $5,000 towards their cause. If Grant wins the competition, our new charity organization Signal Flare (about which you will hear much more very soon) will use the money to support the homeless. More important than the money is the fact that Sunsuper Dreams is about the best dream for a better world. In a world that’s full of politics, false pretences and ulterior motives I believe Grant’s passion for helping people for no other reason than simply to help people when they need it the most sets a great example of how the world could and should be a better place. Wherever you are in the world, your votes will be counted, so please follow the link, and if you like what you read please vote for Grant and share the link with your family, friends and other networks:

Thank you all very much for reading and voting, and watch this space for our next blog post!

Bernie the Polite Girl from the Polite Team 

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This post is going to be all “Heart”

Bernie the Polite Girl and I did a post on Facebook for people to come and help sort some of the clothes that we had for the next BBQ event. Mostly putting all the male clothes in the bag marked males etc. Well 6 people answered the call to come and give up there Saturday and give a hand. Rod, Pauline, Dave, Denise, Tom and Troy.

These guys turned up with wide smiles and ready to be put to work helping. We all started going through bags and sorting damaged clothes and putting the good ones into their right bag. The atmosphere and heart coming from everyone was awesome with fun and jokes, but most of all we all knew we were doing a lot of work to help others for later. I must say I was proud to not just be there but to just know these awesome people.

The time came for us to finish bagging clothes and we just sat and had a few more laughs before everyone went home. For me this was one of the reasons I started doing BBQ’s, it shows the community coming together to help with no reason but to know there helping people in need. Two of them (Dave and Denise) travelled from the Gold Coast, can’t make the next event because of plans already which will be the only event they haven’t been to since I started 3 years ago. But they showed up full of heart ready to help here without ever seeing the end result of a homeless or person in need using them clothes. Their ACE’S in my book and always will be.

Now writing about Dave and Denise reminded me of a story I was told a while ago which at the time gave me hope and inspiration. Dave’s mum and she neighbour went to the store to buy a lot of toothbrush’s to donate at our BBQ, going to the checkout the young lady working the cashier asked why so many toothbrush’s. Dave’s mum explained about the BBQ’s and about how they were donating them. The cashier (In the Gold Coast) asked them to wait a minute and ran off, Came back with $20 and asked if they would get more to donate from her.

The next time Dave’s mum went back to the store the cashier did the same thing. This is someone that will never meet the people who gets the toothbrush’s, but she knew they were going to people in need. The sad thing is I don’t even know her name to mention on here. But hearing about someone like that really inspired me to do so much more because others are too.

One thing that makes me so proud and that’s that I go on Facebook, Twitter or walk through the city and I hear from all these people wanting to help or about what they’re doing to help homeless/people in need. To think I know such awesome and great people really inspires me to do so much more because I feel like I’m not alone trying to help.

I want to thank you all for reading my post and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy

Grant Richards

0412 190 011