I was sitting here thinking about how big things have gotten and it made me think about how it all started. So I thought I’d write about how the very first BBQ started and why.
I hate to say it, but all this started with a lady which was one of my customers, coming up to me and asking me “If I give you some clothes that don’t fit any more could you pass them on to someone that needs them?” at the time I was homeless myself and thought of all the homeless I had meet over time, I knew if the lady gave me clothes I could find someone that it fit.
“Of course I can and I’ll make sure they go to someone that really needs them.”
The next day in the morning I was selling my Big Issue magazines and that same lady came to me with a bag of clothes, smiling with a broad and wide smile. I could tell she was proud she was doing something really good. I took the bag and that afternoon a girl was wearing them. I remember that great feeling of joy looking into the girl’s eyes as I handed out clothes from the bag and asking if she could use them.
That night I remember laying on a bench at Southbank thinking of how many people had clothes and things they never used. I know I didn’t sleep much that night, but I was so positive in thinking that it felt good to just lay there and think/daydream. It was a huge turning point for me and I think I knew it.
The next day I changed my Thank you notes to include, On (Date) I’m collecting clothes to be given to Micah which will be handed out to homeless for free.
A lot of people started talking to me (over the two weeks) about how great it was and to be ready for a lot of clothes, they weren’t wrong. On the morning of collecting the clothes there were bags everywhere. I filled two taxi’s fill and I mean fill. Ha ha I remember the second taxi driver saying it won’t all fit, but what he didn’t know was that I didn’t have much money and I didn’t think I had enough for the two taxi so the third taxi wasn’t going to happen. It all fit. I sat on bags and carried bags on my lap but it all fit. Ha ha
Making it to Micah we unloaded bags everywhere and to be honest if I hadn’t done it myself I wouldn’t have believed it would have fit too. I paid the taxi’s and had a couple of dollars left. The staff of Micah were very impressed and thanked me a lot. I reminded them of their promise of not charging homeless for them and left with a feeling of archiving something very great.
After that I spent weeks telling homeless that Micah had a storeroom of clothes if they needed any.
About a month later I had been told by some of my customers that they had more clothes and asking when I’m doing it again. My mind went into helping mode and I called ‘The 139 Club’ saying I’m going to share the love and do a collection in two weeks for them. I changed my Thank you note again. Ha ha.
Even though I was homeless at this time I had some great friends, one of them (Brad) came up to me and said “Grant I love what you’re doing, so if you ask The 139 Club I will put a few snags on a BBQ for the homeless when they come and collect the clothes.” I thought this was a great idea and called them that day. They said a BBQ idea was good but better if I did it at the park down the road. (more area)
I contacted the Council right after to see what I would have to do. Now I still get a laugh about this next bit because of the way things were said. I meet Brain from the council (A Top Guy) and we walked through New Farm park looking for a great location for this BBQ, when he turned and said “How many are you expecting to come?” I turned and said “ Not sure yet but if I’m going to do a BBQ for homeless there’s is a lot of them, maybe 400 will come.” Brain looked at me and asked “what organization was I from?” I smiled and said “I’m Grant the Polite Guy with a lot of friends.”
Brain left letting me know of all the things I’d need for such a big event and saying that Musgrave Park would be better location while shaking his head. Haha I didn’t know I’d need half the things Brain told me so it was great he did. I walked back to the city thinking I’m in over my head and it was a good idea but I don’t have the resources for something like this.
I walked pass a park and for some reason I noticed 3 homeless laying on benches, but the thing I noticed more was that 2 of them had bags which would have held clothes and things. 1 of them didn’t have a bag and it made me think of when I was jumped and my bag was stolen. There’s nothing worst because you loss everything in life all over again.
I got to the city and called the council saying I’d take Musgrave Park and I planned the BBQ for 4 weeks later. I remember thinking if I made it longer then I would work as hard getting it together and maybe cancel it all together. 4 weeks meant getting it done now. There was a need and this was too important not to do.
A homeless guy was going to put on a BBQ for the homeless. I knew I’d need a lot of things, but I also kept thinking I have a lot of friends and wasn’t alone.
Now the people I’m about to mention have helped from day one and to this day has turned up and helped, never asking for any credit or even a mention on here or in the media. These people are true helpers which I couldn’t have done any of these BBQ without them. They do it because their hearts are in the right place.
Adrian- I went to see Adrian at his printing shop and said I needed fliers to hand out to homeless. The only way to get homeless there was to get a lot of fliers and walk around handing out and telling them on the streets. Adrian has now moved to a different printing place but he still prints my fliers and posters. I also get fliers from Worldwide Printing 32298522
Tony- is just amazing and without him I don’t think we would have gotten going in them 4 weeks. You see the (Don’t remember how) radio like the fact that a homeless person was doing a BBQ for the homeless and asked me to be on radio to promote it and ask for help with resources putting it all together. Tony called and out of his pocket paid for most of the things needed for the first BBQ. For that I owe the man and he will always have my respect and be a mate.
Andrew- has a high position in the Nab Bank and like Tony put his hand into his pocket and helped with the first and every event which help me to of made it happen. He even brought the first marquee. Haha. I owe so much to Andrew for just being the great mate he is. I can say this and that’s “The guy’s got contacts” haha there’s nothing he can’t get or do.
Vanessa- she’s awesome and likes to be tough (I wouldn’t mess with her. Haha) but really she has a heart of gold and every BBQ she helps in such huge ways, But the biggest thing she does is keeps me wanting to help more just to be more like her. I know she will want to kick my ass for writing this but it’s true. She’s soft hearted and makes me want to be more like her when helping people. Sorry Ness. Haha
Craig- On my first BBQ I had no-where near the clothes needed for such a huge event. I posted on Face book, Twitter and of course here on my blog and asked for help getting clothes and things. Craig called and said he had all the clothes and toiletries needed for the event. You see he collected a lot of things from people while the floods were on and after the floods and less to help he had warehouses full of box’s. I got a van load of box’s of clothes and drinks.
Brad- Now this was all his fault because he started this by saying he would do a small BBQ out the front of 139 Club. The guy is one of my best mates and I can say he has turned up to every BBQ and on the last one came and brought St. John’s First Aid with him as now he’s a First Aid officer. The guy is like a rock for me and sometimes grounds me when I slide off track. As mates go there’s no better.
Dave & Denise- These guys have been to every BBQ I have ever done and one of our biggest collectors when it comes to clothes and things. I would write more about them but I’m doing my next post on them because their awesome.
WOW this post became long and I’m sorry about that. But the thing is some people turn up and only want to be famous or have the media. These guys have helped in so many ways and yet in most cases this is their first mention since all this started 1 ½ years ago. I say “Thank you”
But to finish my story, the BBQ happened within the 4 weeks with help of these people as well. I wasn’t alone, I formed a team and have watched many come and go. But those guys have been around since me.
The BBQ was a huge success and help many, the start of long road of helping people even me. I got on my feet after the third BBQ because I never used any of the resources for myself because I never collect for me I collected for others.
1,800 words, once again I’m sorry for the long post.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and maybe understand that anyone can put together a BBQ for the homeless because when I decided to do it I gave myself 4 weeks and I had nothing. (I was homeless)
Please share this post by using the button below. If anything I want to bring homeless awareness everywhere.
Thank you again.
Grant the Polite Guy
0412 190 011