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 

1 comment:

  1. your inaugural blog Bernie, well done, very informative and good to read. As you know, Dave & I will miss volunteering at this upcoming bbq (we'll be interstate) - the only one we would have missed in the 3 years since Grant first started these events. Glad to have helped in some small way last weekend with the sorting. I look forward to reading your next blog on the Ipswich BBQ itself. Den :-)