Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Success 'A Hand Up Day'

‘A Hand Up Day’ surprised me with what people emailed me. I read all about people buying hotdogs to a pancake place helping homeless by giving pancakes away with clothes collected from staff and friends.

Now some might say only 13 emails is not much, but I say 13+ people took one day out of there life to help in most cases someone / people they didn’t know before or have walked passed and looked down so not to make eye contact. It’s a great start. I must say most emails were from the U.S.A you guys are great.

I’m very proud right now because even if just one of those people help people in need from now then that could be hundreds helped in the future where-ever they are. Pass-it-forward yeah.


WOO-HOO I did it, I put a successful BBQ together in 8 days. Look at the pictures. Homeless came and there was food, drinks, all the clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, toiletries and much more waiting for the much needed homeless of Brisbane at 10am Sunday morning. Even though most turned up by 8:30am instead of the 10am start as planned. Ha-ha.

I wasn’t the one that made all this happen. There’s many to thank, maybe if I put it into what happened each day and in order I’ll get them all in. So here’s how I was able to put a BBQ on for the homeless in 8 days.

Day 1 Saturday.

It was cold and raining when I thought about putting on a BBQ. Thinking it was the weekend I decided not to do anything about today. Except tell some friends about it.

Day 2 Sunday.

A very icy cold and raining night which followed by a raining and cold day. I thought it was the weekend and I couldn’t do much.

Day 3 Monday.

Well the same cold and not much to do but it was a public holiday here so I couldn’t do anything with putting together the BBQ. This was bad because now I had 6 days left and still no location, food or even clothes.

Day 4 Tuesday.

I remember thinking I can’t do it! Bad timing and to be honest I thought of every reason why I couldn’t do it. I went to work and really was feeling down about it all because it was so cold and I knew homeless were out there in it.

Now when I started doing my shoe shining with Buffed they introduced me to a guy to be a mentor, now I was very lucky because my mentor was David Wilson from BDO (He’s a partner there). Well David kept giving me advice about business matters and how no-matter what the task, there’s always a way to get it done. Which was funny because I’m always saying the same thing to homeless all the time. But when it was said to me it set in more, so I listen.

I started thinking of things David had told me over the past and to be honest I just whipped out a pen and paper and just started writing all that I’d need to have a BBQ. Food, Drinks, Location, BBQ’S to cook, Clothes, Toiletries, Insurance, Tables and a lot of helpers. Then at the bottom of the list I wrote 5 Days to Go. I stared at that piece of paper for about an hour thinking of ways I could do it.

I called a mate of mine “Peter” who is the manger of ‘Bleeding Heart Cafe’ (It’s a Art Gallery, 166 Ann St City), Peter says “Mate happy to have you use our area out the front to help the homeless, But because it’s Heritage Building no naked flames like a BBQ”

Awesome I had a location, covered by insurance and they had tables we could use to put the clothes on which are the three biggest things when having a BBQ for homeless. I’ll say I had a bit of a skip in my step for the rest of the day. Ha ha

I went home and started printing and cutting up lots of pieces of paper to hand out to people asking for clothes and things.

Day 5 Wednesday.

Starting at 6am I handed out a flier to every person I could get to, saying I was collecting any and all clothes, blankets, toiletries and things for the BBQ they never wanted to see again collecting on Friday morning. But also asking for helpers to cook and fold clothes to be put on the tables for the homeless to go through for what they wanted and keep for free.

Day 6 Thursday.

Two of my wonderful customers (Wendy and Stephanie) came up to me and said they had sent an email to all Bank Of Queensland (BOQ) staff and collecting a huge amount of clothes and going to be passing the hat around to collect for food and drinks, there AWESOME.

Now I still have injuries so I didn’t but I felt like doing cartwheels up and down the foyer. Ha-ha My BBQ was coming together because the community were coming together to help the homeless and people in need.

After work I meet up with the fantastic Benedikete, she’s a counsellor that helps me to help people that well really need counselling in life. Benedikete and I handed out fliers to homeless from the Valley through to Southbank. Just stopping and quickly chatting and saying about where and when the BBQ is and getting clothes and blankets. A lot of walking. (Was really feeling it in the legs. Ha-ha )

Day 7 Friday.

Now I have my Buffed chair in the foyer of the BOQ building and they have said if I ever need to there’s a small storeroom out back. I spent all morning saying thank you and grabbing bags of clothes and blankets to carry to the backroom. Huge amount, bags came from everywhere. Not just BOQ but the coal company Peabody, Qcat, Department of Veterans Affairs all came together to help people they may have never meet, but wanted to give someone in need a Hand Up. Remember “A Hand Up Day”.

Wendy and Stephanie came up to me about lunch time and told me they had passed the hat and collected $850 and asked me to write a shopping list of food and drinks and things needed for the BBQ and with the rest bought new jumpers to hand out.

2pm came and I asked as many people as I could to help move all the clothes, food and things to a Taxi just outside to take to Bleeding Heart. We needed two Taxi’s and one of them was a Maxi Taxi, we kept throwing bags and bags in saying it’ll fit, but no we needed the second one too.

4 of us took about a 1 ½hrs to unload and stack the bags in a room waiting for Sunday morning. A lot of bags.

Then I spent the rest of the day handing out fliers to as many homeless and people in need as I could find.

Day 8 Saturday.

Thinking I had everything done and planned all I had to do was tell the homeless to come and eat and get warm clothes. But no, my wife Cheryl asks how we are going to cook the food without using flame BBQ’S? I’d forgotten about that. OHNO. Some people had given me money for the BBQ event which I didn’t use yet but was holding it for extra things you need that you run out of. I handed her the money and asked her to buy a electric BBQ plate because there’s power there. I knew I didn’t give her enough but we had money in the bank.

I came into the city and meet with two lovely ladies (Liz and Cath). I’m going to be talking about how wonderful they are later, but this post is long enough already.

We walked and walked everywhere handing out fliers to homeless. Some stopping for a chat. A good 3-4 hours of walking to get to as many people as we could. Then the best idea, (I know some will not like) we stopped at the pub and had a couple of beers as a reward for doing such a good job.

Day 9 Sunday.

It says day 9 but really I couldn’t do much for the first 3 days. I felt proud knowing I had put together a BBQ in less than one week and because it was getting so cold, I was going to be handing out sleeping bags, blankets, clothes, toiletries while homeless ate and drunk all they wanted.

8am my family turn up to start setting up tables and things and not to my surprise there were homeless there already waiting, even though we said it starts at 10am.

The bags came out, the tables were set up and the food started cooking.

Some left and came back for more clothes or food and there were many of happy smiles. The toiletries, sleeping bags and blankets were first to go.

Staff came from the BOQ building and helped homeless as a community coming together.

About 90-140 homeless turned up.

I got 4 phone numbers of homeless people that said they want to get on their feet. A week later one changed his mind and didn’t meet. Great result, we can’t help everyone but look for the ones we can.

The one thing I’m very proud of is that, these people were offered extra blankets and warm clothes but only took what they needed and most said they wanted to leave enough for others too. NOT GREEDY.

Now I normally donate all clothes left over to the 139 club (homeless centre) but this time I know there’s a Mates helping Mates BBQ coming shortly so I bagged all clothes and stored at my little unit to give straight to the homeless. The left over food went to ‘Knitting for the Needy’ as they were meeting a food van that afternoon and they will cook and hand out.

Nothing is ever wasted at our BBQ’S (Too hard to come by everything. Ha-ha)

Now some people aren’t sure if this event being a Mates helping Mates BBQ. It wasn’t. Mates helping Mates which I am a director of had postponed the event they had planned and It was getting very cold out so I as Grant the Polite Guy put a quick event together to get warm clothes and mostly blankets out there for people to use now.

The great thing is 13+ others didn’t something the same across the world as well at the same time.

I call that a successful week.

I have a lot of new readers now so please if you would like, go to grantthepoliteguy.blogspot.com for past posts before I started working as a Buffed shoe shiner.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Hand Up Day

I wrote about Kerry’s family and Sarah in my last post. The good news is people stood tall and said “I have clothes and things” and Sarah went to her interview with beautiful clothes. She thought she looked like a million dollars, (well except for a zipper that would do up) ha ha I don’t think she believed she could look so smart. She didn’t get the job in the Army but Sarah and the 19 yr agree to let Mates helping Mates help them get a fulltime job. Meeting once a week for 8 hours. Also because I asked so nicely the whole family is doing counselling every Thursday afternoon with a counsellor at their home.

Giving food and clothes did help but with the extra services like looking for work and counselling is going to help long term as well.

Now I’m sure there’s going to be up’s and down’s here but I said as long as they don’t give up I won’t give up on them. They think I’m inspirational. Ha ha. I think I have a size 13 boot for their butts if they quit. Ha ha.


The Van That Can

Lee and his lovely wife came to a Mates helping Mates meeting saying he has a van and can move anything for us. Now I do try to get people to drop off things themselves, but really this van has done hundreds of km’s over the last 2 weeks helping people for us and out of the goodness of his heart. So I say please if you need anything moved call him first because if I can give him business for help us then it’s worth it. The guy set a new record for being ACE’S in my book.

The Van That Can

0410 583 991

On Facebook too.


A Hand Up Day

I remember a large number of nights were it was bitterly cold and raining, you cover yourself up with everything you have just to protect yourself from the wind. But nothing works because it feels like the cold is in your bones. So you just shiver wishing or praying for the rain to stop, the wind to stop, but most of all for the sun to come out and warm everything up again. But as daybreak hits the rain hits harder and the wind gets stronger and the sun doesn’t come out.

Now that was a bit harsh, but really to think that it doesn’t happen is fooling yourself. This is one of thousands of reasons why I work so hard helping homeless people and really any people in great need.

Now I’m reminded about this because here in Brisbane it’s been bitterly cold and raining off and on for weeks now.

I get a lot of people saying to me “Grant people want to help more but don’t know what to do” or “Grant you’re an inspiration and I wish more people were like you”. I say I’m nothing special and anyone can do it. So let’s help people to help themselves.

If people are waiting to hear what they can do then I’ll say it now, because I have a plan. Ha ha

On the 17th of this month should be a Sunday no matter which State or Country you’re in. So that gives you a 5 days if you read this quickly. I say, tell your friends and family to collect clothes, blankets, food and as a group or on your own take them to homeless or have a BBQ and put up posters to invite or something like that. I mean it, I want to hear from people everywhere about what they did and I’ll post it here.

People have clothes they never want to see again and really collecting them will be easy and handing them out will be one of the most fulfilling things you could do. (Helping someone in need) If anyone says why? You just say “Grant the Polite Guy says to ask”.

Do we want to call this a special day? I do this a lot but let’s call it “A Hand Up day”

I know you can do this. I’ll even make it easy and I’ll type a notice for people to copy and paste and all you have to do is change the details for your area and put everywhere. e.g. Office kitchens, Shops, walls or even to hand to your friends and family.

Copy and make changers and print. You will look like a hero I promise and you will be doing so much good.

I’m Grant the Polite Guy and this Sunday is A Hand Up Day.

It’s been getting cold out so let’s band together and help those in need most. I’m putting on a BBQ were all homeless and people in need will come and get food, clothes, toiletries and things for free to help during these tough times. I’m asking everyone to look for clothes they never want to see again and give to people who need it, plus food, drinks, toiletries and anything that will help. I’m also going to need helpers to cook and stack clothes. This BBQ is going to be at Bleeding Heart (166 Ann St) from 10am to 2pm this Sunday on the 17th. I am collecting all clothes in the foyer of the BOQ building (259 Queen St City) before 9am on the 15th.

To help please call 0412 190 011 or grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com

Thank you all and have a good day. Grant the Polite Guy.

So that’s what I’m going to use. If people want to join me here in Brisbane please contact me. If you live elsewhere and if you’ve been waiting for someone to tell you how to help then there it is. I’m asking and telling you how and when to do it. I really would love to hear about how things went and maybe photo’s.


I thank you for reading my blog and I wish everyone a great and successful A Hand Up Day. If you think homeless can’t be helped just remember I was homeless and look at me know.

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Twitter @grantpoliteguy

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SOS Helping those in need

This is a call out for any and all help,

Its well known Mates helping Mates does BBQ’S to help the many. But sometimes we come across people that need that little bit more help because things get tough.

I have two stories in one here, this is the first time I have done this with helping people, but I’m sure and hoping it works.

I got a call from a girl ( Sarah  about 25yr ) last night saying she’s about to become homeless again because things with a guy were going badly and things were really taking a turn for the worst in life. You see Sarah has been moving around a lot going from friend to friend doing what a lot call “Couch Surfing” Not a good lifestyle, you never know when you have to leave until it’s time to go and then look for another person’s house to go to.

 But then she started saying how this Friday she has a job interview for the Army Reserves and looking for a full time job to get on her feet which that could be a turning point for her. But she has no good clothes for the interviews and I know myself that when you move around a lot it’s easy to lose the little things you have.

I told Sarah that everything will be okay and I’m sure I’ll be able to help get accommodation and clothes as well. So I started putting out a plea for accommodation and things when I got another call from someone needing help.

Kerry called telling me about her story.

Kerry told me all about how she has 3 daughters (Ages 5, 9, 19 and baby on the way). But wait there’s more Kerry also looks after another girl aged 15 which gets no benefits, there was a lot of fights and arguments in her household. Kerry looks after her now.

Kerry called saying how things were getting tough and there was a real need for food and things and asked if there was a way they could get help.

Kerry does get money but hardship hits us all every now and then, it’s just it hits some more than others. Talking more I heard how tough things were getting and I started thinking how proud I was that she was asking for more things for her kids then herself. I wanted to race home and grab food from the cupboards and rush it to her. But she has dinner for tonight.

I started telling Kerry about the problems Sarah has and the fact that both were in great need and I was going to try and help both. Then I thought about it, then thought some more and then asked Kerry if she had room for one more person until she gets on her feet if I helped with extra food and things.

The great thing is Kerry didn’t even think about it. “YES if she’s as bad as us then giving her a room is the least I can do” Now this is ACE’S in mine and most people’s books. She called to get help and is ending up helping someone she has never seen. That’s an Aussie.

Here I can help both at the same time. So right now I’m asking for as much help as I can muster.
all female things needed
Clothes and toys for a 5 year old size 5

Clothes for 9 year old size 12

Clothes for 15, 19 and Sarah size 14. Remember Sarah and 19 are going to job interviews.

Clothes for Kerry size 18 and pregnant clothes too.

Clothes for new born

Food to fill the cupboards for 6 people to get on their feet.

Meat for freezer for healthy diet

Cleaning products.

2 Double beds much needed

Blankets (Getting cold) and pillows.

2 wardrobes    

A beer for Grant the Polite Guy, for doing a good job. Ha ha

Okay maybe not the last one, but the rest are much needed. So what we’re doing to asking everyone if they can help with any of this please do. We are collecting it all before tomorrow 2pm Weds the 6th. To do this please call me on 0412 190 011 or email me on grantthepoliteguy@gmail.com
Thank you for reading my blog and for this post please forward it and share to help get more help.
Thank you again and I hope you have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy.