Before starting on the lttle stories, I like to shout out a huge THANK YOU to many and as always, I am bound to forget some names once I start naming names, so please do understand this is not intentional! Jerome Dalton and your amazing crew at Dalton Hospitality, you absolutely rocked it once again, feeding everyone in a way only you can with the yumminess of food only you provide. Absolutely beautiful what you bring to our events, both the food and the people. SecondBite, thank you so much for generously providing Jerome with high-quality fresh produce to work with. OzHarvest, thank you, Australian Food Corporation, thank you. Shawn Scheiwe, thank you for filming our event from the skies with your drone - we can't wait to see the result! Share the Dignity, thank you for joining us with your free female sanitary products for homeless women. You are such remarkable ladies, and what you do is so important. Thank you to all the generous people who donated clothes, shoes, toys, non-perishable foods etc. Without all of you we would not be able to do what we do. And last but definitely not least, a big thank you to the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, for dropping by. We are grateful for your support.
|The Polite Team with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk|
And then, the little stories. Well, first of all, two days before the BBQ I posted a photo on our Signal Flare Facebook page. It was a photo of a garbage bin, and I wrote with it "Imagine if... the only meal you could afford came out of this bin, where others chuck their leftovers... How would you feel? Just think about it". I also mentioned that our BBQ was only two sleeps away, and if people couldn't think of a last-minute thing to bring to donate, canned foods/fruits were a good option. The photo had over 3,000 views, and the amount of canned veggies, fruits, tuna etc, pastas and rice we received at the BBQ was overwhelming. People came with bags full to donate. We laid it all out on the table, and our guests could just take whatever they needed. It was absolutely heart warming to see our community care about the disadvantaged among us. And the table was restocked throughout the event, because the need for these foods was high.
|Malcolm, one of our lovely regular guests, with some of the donated unperishable foods|
Second little story. One of our valued volunteers, Ann, had a painful back and went for a lay-down in the grass. One of our guests saw that she was in pain and grabbed in his backpack. He grabbed his unused bottle of water and wanted to give it to her, but Ann had trouble accepting because the guy was so clearly homeless and it was obvious that he had very little. The guy, however, insisted, and in the end Ann took his bottle. It was the best thing she could have done. It made the guy's day, because he had been able to give back to someone who had done good things that day. Even though for us it might be one of the million things that happen any particular day and not really worth a mention, for this guy it was very special because he had the opportunity to give, and he made a difference to someone in pain, to someone who did something good for the guests of which he was one. It was very special also for Ann. It may be true that homeless people don't have many possessions, but they care too, they want to give too, they are like anyone else, just with less stuff.
|Ann drinking from the water bottle she received from one of our guests|
Third little story. Tyler. Tyler is a high school student who compassionately chose his school project to raise awareness of homelessness. He did this by interviewing Grant the Polite Guy, me and Clayton, one of our guests on camera. The way in which Tyler asked his questions and the way he responded to my answering, not so much in words but in body language and facial expression, told me that he cared about people less fortunate than himself. After the interview he shook my hand and told me what a remarkable lady I was, but let me tell you, Tyler, you are nothing less but remarkable yourself! It is wonderful to see someone of the younger generation being so community oriented, so compassionate, and so open to the unfamiliar. It shows us that there is hope for the future. He will do well in his life.
|Tyler and his camera. Let us know how you went, Tyler. We hope we helped you get a High Distinction!|
Fourth story. A picture says more than a thousand words... I don't know who of the two enjoyed themselves more, but all people great and small had a good time at our BBQ :-)
|Little people and big people enjoying themselves at our BBQ.|
Fifth little story. The lovely Karena visited our BBQ. She told us that the government had a Homeless Hotline that was barely made use of because people did not know it existed. This Hotline is a Queensland-wide service for the homeless, where they can get advice on where to get food, showers, clothing etc. If people are after accommodation the staff won't get off the phone until they find them somewhere to stay temporarily, how awesome is that! We have been widely advertising this hotline since the BBQ, and already at least almost 5000 more people are now aware of its existence thanks to us yay :-) Thank you for helping us spread the word!
All in all, like all our BBQs for the Homeless and Others in Need, this was one positive event with a million little positive stories inside. Typically, we forgot to bring our Signal Flare banner, the banner that we are so proud of, but our minds were full of the things we needed to bring and think about for the homeless and others in need. Our BBQs are about them and what they need, and then forgetting to bring our banner is easy to do. But the homeless and others in need will always recognize us, with or without banner. Next time we'll remember to bring it, though :-) This what it looks like, haha, note the thumbs up on either side: