Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas is coming, people! I have been humming “Jingle Bells” for months now, ever since the first plan for this BBQ was there, and yes, we did it again! Also this year we have run a Christmas BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need, proudly for the first time under the name of our charity Signal Flare. And again it was a beautiful day, Thursday 28 November 2013, in Musgrave Park under the Queensland sun. Again we saw our guests coming, we saw their excitement at finding essentials such as toiletries, clothes and backpacks, and it was a joy to see them line up for a yummy lunch. Some guests ate their lunch in groups, others sat by themselves. We saw their faces light up when they were made welcome and were greeted with a smile and friendly “Good morning”. Quite touching actually, to see how easy it was to make it a wonderful day for everyone, and everyone made it a very special day for us: it is always heart-warming to notice how people grow, come out of their shell, when you just take the time to talk with them.


 The beautiful thing is that our BBQs are not just inspiring for us, but that it also inspires other people to help others. One lady in need, for example, travelled from Brisbane’s North Side to Ipswich to attend our BBQ in September. She told me her story there and was helped - not only by me. She texted me every few weeks to let me know how she was doing, and she came again to this BBQ because she wanted to give back and volunteer. That is the most fantastic thing to experience. One of the talented artists at the Christmas BBQ enquired how she could donate things; having been at our event she saw the need and the happiness, and she wanted to help as well. Just great!

 As I said before, a lot of work has been done to get it all happening, we had a few hiccups but all went well in the end and it was more than worth it. One first-time volunteer had been hesitant about coming or not, as she thought everyone would know each other and she would not know anyone and feel the odd one out. She decided to come, had the best time and did not feel left out at all. At our BBQs everybody talks with everybody, there is a strong sense of inclusion and equality, and usually everybody leaves with great memories of a happy and positive event. For that we have to thank everybody who comes to our BBQs. They are beautiful souls, whether they are homeless, others in need, or volunteers.

The Polite Team would like to thank a lot of people for making our Christmas BBQ as wonderful as it was:
Rod, thank you for giving us the one and only Santa to join us in such a magnificent way. You spread Christmas joy to many people by being there, handing out surprises, and having many people great and small on your lap. Thank you also to the wonderful Mrs Santa!
The wonderful and generous Jerome and Dalton Hospitality: thank you for bringing your equipment, food and drinks, thank you for offering us your van to load with donations the day before the BBQ. It made a big difference on the morning of the BBQ! And thank you for lending Emily to us on both days.

Thank you Foodbank for donating sausages and bread.

Thank you, Ipswich Hospital Foundation, for lending us tables and marquees, and thank you, James, for picking them up, bringing them to Musgrave Park and returning them to Ipswich Hospital Foundation. While we’re at it, James, also thank you for picking up the bread in Morningside, returning the generator to East Brisbane and for returning our tables and marquees to our storage. We would have been lost without your goodwill.

St John Ambulance Australia – Wynnum division – thank you for attending our event supporting the homeless and others in need, and keeping us safe and looking after us. Keith, Brad and Chrissy, your presence was very much appreciated.

Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy, thank you so much for your fantastic contribution to donations and atmosphere as always. You simply rock and have hearts of gold, and your knitted products are made with a lot of love. Wesley Mission Emergency Relief Service, thank you for coming and helping people. Hepatitis Queensland, thank you for coming and distributing useful health information.

Odyssey Entertainment and Dan, thank you so much for organizing the fantastic live music for the event. Jon-Paul Schwarzes, Ataractic, Lex Woodfinger, Paul O’Daly, Skye Staniford and Matthew Furley / Houses, thank you for adding a very special touch to this event and for sharing your talents for all to enjoy.

Massive thank you to ALL our volunteers, amongst which members of the Golden Valley Keperra Leos Club and Kotahi Aroha. We couldn’t have done it without your compassion, sunny smiles and enthusiasm.

Rebecca and Gerhard, the list of things to thank you for is very long. In brief, thank you for your enormous contribution to making the event go well and to its preparations, for your passion, compassion and enthusiasm.

Thank you to our dedicated sorting team who helped us sort lots of donations on the weekend prior to the BBQ.

Big thank you to Having a Go Coffee Coorparoo for collecting donations for this BBQ on Brisbane's south side, and for holding them until we had reorganized our storage space on the north side.

And last but not least, thank you to everybody who donated clothes, shoes, toiletries, toys, backpacks and much more. Without you we would not have anything to give away to those who need it. And essentials that are taken for granted by us mean so much more to others who have gone without those essentials for such a long time. Whether you gave one pair of shoes or boxes full of toiletries (thank you, Telstra!), please know that it was all very, very much appreciated by us and by the people who got to take them.
Heavens, I hope I have not forgotten to thank anybody. If I have, please accept my sincerest apologies!

We hope you have caught on to the Christmas spirit of doing something nice for others.  It may be very simple for you but you will never know how much it may mean to the person who needs that touch of kindness on the day.

The Polite Team wishes you a great time leading up to the Festive Season!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl for The Polite Team

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I am trying very hard to not put the wrong message across. It is true, I have hit some hard times, personal and business, which has given me some setback. I have found myself depressed and feel I need to get away for a couple of weeks to be on my own and take time out for myself.

I do want to make this very clear to everyone and especially the people I have helped that read my blog, I am not giving up, I am not quitting, I just feel burnt out and I am taking a short break. I am going to Sydney to get away from things, and I will have my phone off as I feel that I need to just find myself again.

I have given and done so much to help people, and I know people will want to call or text, and I am asking them now not to. I need time for me.

I hate putting it like this, but I feel I am wanting and needing this time for myself.

I will be back brighter, even bigger smile, and I hope you all have a good day. I am not going to lie, if you have an emergency please do call as I will always be there to help.
Yes we Coorparoo store "Having a Go Coffee" will be open, please come for a coffee.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011