Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Polite Team Needs Your Help

If there is one thing we are good at and where we get good results it must be asking help for others. We have asked help for individual people who needed basic furniture, groceries, cleaning products, job-interview clothes, children's toys, you name it, and people are always so generous and come up with things that these people in need really need... We have asked help for our BBQs for the Homeless and Others in Need, and people gladly chipped in, contributing to and towards the food, donating clothes, shoes, toiletries and what have you. We have been so touched to see the community coming together in more amazing ways than one. We couldn't help others as we do without your help!

For me, this was the most touching example of the community coming together for the homeless and others in need: for our Christmas BBQ we did a callout on Facebook for presents for the children at the BBQ, and this was the result: a bus full of carefully wrapped Christmas presents for the less fortunate... I'm still crying happy tears when I think about it... 

Asking help for others is easy. Asking help for ourselves is often a lot more difficult though, but everybody needs to do it sometimes because that's just how life is. All of us have had times where we have been the givers of help, whereas at other times we have received help.

As you know, our charity Signal Flare began as a dream of Grant the Polite Guy. Starting out organizing BBQs for the Homeless and Others in Need when he was himself homeless and finding these BBQs to be hugely successful, he began to think of ways in which he could help disadvantaged people even more. He thought about starting a charity because a charity could help a lot more people in many more ways than a single individual can. Grant's BBQs grew, I came on board and Grant's BBQs became our BBQs which grew even more, and we became the Polite Team. And with the help of a wonderful, dedicated group of people Grant's dream, the charity Signal Flare, became a reality. We are a registered not for profit charity and a Deductible Gift Recipient, meaning that any donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

So far, we have had many successful BBQs and where possible we have helped individual people on a one-on-one basis, quite a lot of them actually. We have done plenty of Pies and Cokes - Grant's term for sitting down with someone who is doing it tough, buying him or her something to eat and drink and having a chat to see how we can help. All of the Pies and Cokes, some of the help, and all of the fuel used for helping people have come out of Grant's and my own pockets because Signal Flare simply does not have the funds yet. Imagine the possibilities and how much help we can provide once Signal Flare is more financial!

Between now and the end of May, Signal Flare's major recurring must-pay costs are due, and Signal Flare just doesn't have the money in the bank... To give you an idea of what is due:

Post Office Box Services: $408, due 15 April
RACQ renewal: $358, due 14 May
Public Liability Insurance: $833, due 26 May

If you would like to donate towards one of these fees, towards petrol, towards our rego fees ($771 due in August) or generally to help Signal Flare grow so that we can help more people in more ways or if you know anyone who would, here are our bank details:
Bank of Queensland
BSB: 124-001
Account Number: 22066259
Account Name: Signal Flare Inc
As I said before, it's easier to ask help for other people than to ask it for our own charity: it feels like we should be giving help, not asking for it. Yet we find ourselves in a spot where we need to do this if we want to continue to help people and expand on the helping, and we know that the help we give is badly needed. All donations big and small do make a difference. If you consider donating, please remember your donations of $2 or more will be tax deductible. Please add a reference outlining whether your donation is towards our GPO Box fee (due the soonest), RACQ, PLI, or other, and remember to notify us of your donation on so we can send you a receipt for your tax purposes. Thank you so much for your consideration.
Thank you for reading this blog post, and have a wonderful weekend.

Bernie the Polite Girl for the Polite Team

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another awesome BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need done well

What an awesome day it was, this past Sunday 15 March! I just want to share the day in words and photos alike, and I hope it doesn't make this blog post too fragmented... Blame my enthusiasm if it does. Just keep reading till the very bottom and you'll be right :-) What I am so happy about is that we had our BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need at Musgrave Park last Sunday, and everything about it was just perfect. Oh I am in love! With human beings :-) Seriously, we all know that people can be nasty creatures who can and do inflict a lot of hurt upon each other, but hey, when you get to do the things that we do, and especially at events like these, you get to see the beauty of human beings on a regular basis too.

Volunteers preparing lunch for many with care

And Sunday was one of those times where human nature shone! It even started before Sunday. More than at previous events, we asked volunteers to contribute to and towards the food, and the response was astonishing and heart warming. People just loved to buy lots of bread, oranges, apples and water melons, and donated dollars towards the main food. Just heart warming to see how many people wanted to give to help the marginalized in our community. Quite a few people said "I can't afford much, but I can afford a little bit", they gave what they could afford to give, and together we got something truly amazing. People enthusiastically assisted by dropping off and picking up things, giving other people rides to and from the BBQ, arriving well before 8am to help set up from scratch and staying until the last table was loaded back into the trailer. This truly was the community coming together to cook up something very very unique for those less fortunate. And even quite a few of those less fortunate turned up early to help, all in the best of moods. Really, people who are sceptic about homelessness and homeless people should come to our events and they would change their minds!

Many guests came to enjoy a day in the sun, share a meal, take things with them that would make life a little easier, and soak up the great, relaxed vibe

And our guests came in large numbers. I had been a little worried about it before, because until people start to turn up you don't know if they actually will. The week prior to the BBQ I had spent many hours handing out flyers to people on the street, at Common Ground, Pindari hostel, Ozcare and several other crisis accommodation places, but like I said, until people come on the day you don't know if they will.
The very first flyer I handed out went to Raymond, one of my mates from the City, who was very proud of having his photo taken. He was very thrilled when I asked his permission to share the photo on social media :-)

But I needed not worry. Steady streams of people found their way to Musgrave Park, some came walking from New Farm or even further away. Clothes, shoes, toiletries, children's toys and other things found proud new owners and lunch was shared. More importantly, our guests and volunteers alike soaked up the atmosphere of friendship, of social inclusion, of friendly chatter. I walked up to one of our arriving guests who looked a bit lost. I just went to say g'day, and before we realized it we were in a big lively conversation and he didn't look lost anymore. I keep saying it, people thrive when you give them some of your time. And the best thing is, anyone can do it.  It doesn't cost much to make someone's day.

Malcolm, one very happy man at the end of the day, carrying a big bag full of things that would make his life just that little bit easier. And a positive buzz around the tables with donations.

I am sure I am also speaking for Grant the Polite Guy when I say I would like to thank some awesome charities/organizations/businesses without whose support our BBQ wouldn't have been as brilliant as it was.

Jerome Dalton and Dalton Hospitality, thank you so much for your dedication and generosity over the years. Serving homeless people and others in need with wonderful food and drinks the way you do and with the genuine intention to help testifies to your grace. You and the crew always turn up with huge cheerful smiles that stay there the whole time and that, believe me, make other people smile as well.

Jerome Dalton and Dalton Hospitality, thank you!!!

Dana from Drug Arm, thank you so much for your long-time support. Whether we are in Brisbane, Caboolture or Ipswich, to name a few, no distance is too long for you to drive Drug Arm's outreach van so you can serve everyone who turns up at our BBQs. And whoever we are, whether we are volunteers, guests or organizers, we all are just people who equally enjoy your unlimited free coffee, tea, cordial and biscuits. And thank you very much for spreading our flyers on your rounds with the outreach van to help make people aware of our upcoming BBQs. Such a quiet achiever you are!

Thank you, Dana and Drug Arm!!!

Knitting for Brisbane's Needy, you guys are amazing, and thank you for turning up at our BBQs each time over the years, handing out endless amounts of knitted blankets, jumpers, beanies, socks, gloves, teddies and more to those who need them. All your items are knitted by hand and with love, so people really do get unique and individual pieces. You have kept countless homeless people warm on the streets over many cold nights.

Knitting for Brisbane's Needy, thank you!!!

Ipswich Hospital Foundation, thank you for lending us your tables and marquees over the years, and even generously providing us with your trailer to transport them in. You make our BBQs so much more doable...

Ipswich Hospital Foundation, thank you!!!

Care Packs for Brisbane's Homeless, thank you so much for the beautiful toiletry packs you put together with so much care and eye for detail and for leaving them aside for our BBQs - I know you serve a lot of people.

Thank you, Care Packs for Brisbane's Homeless!!!

Open Minds, it was wonderful to have you at our BBQ with your information, water bottles etc and cheerful smiles. We loved having you and hope we'll have you again! And thank you for picking up the donations from Care Packs for Brisbane's Homeless.

Thank you, Open Minds!!!

Ozharvest and SecondBite, your support behind the scenes working with Dalton Hospitality over the years has been very much appreciated. Thank you so much for donating to us again this time.

Thank you, Ozharvest (photo courtesy of Dalton Hospitality)
 Thank you, SecondBite!

Connected Inc, our new partnership feels like a new adventure. Your storage of the donations we receive, our working together on BBQ day, it was all just awesome. Lovely to meet the crew! And your denim toiletry bags that are also handbags and that fold out to be blankets were one of our definite hits!

Thank you, Connected Inc!!!

Delta Force Medics Australia, thank you so much for your dedication to everyone's wellbeing at our BBQs, for checking blood pressure, providing first aid and referrals for further medical assistance to everyone. Hope to see you at our next event.

Delta Force Medics Australia, thank you!!!

Everybody, this BBQ was a truly wonderful event on all levels and with the great input of everyone. I can't thank you enough, and that actually goes for both of us: THE POLITE TEAM CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH. And actually it goes even bigger: SIGNAL FLARE CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH!

We are so proud of the great Signal Flare community we have around us, because you are the people who make it happen with us. On our own we couldn't do as much, but together we can move mountains and make every BBQ wonderful.

We are looking forward to our next BBQ. Thank you for reading, and watch this space for more info!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl for the Polite Team