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

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