Owning a business can be crazy at the best times. There are never enough hours in the day, you wear multiple hats and you always want to be doing and achieving more. Last year I decided that 2018 was going to have more balance and that I would take more time to show my gratitude.
One of the things I had on my list was to do something at Xmas to help people who are less fortunate than myself. Not just making a monetary donation, which is important, but doesn’t necessarily feel fulfilling. I wanted to see how that donation impacted those people I helped. Every year I say I want to do something to help homeless people and I never do. But this year I made sure to change that.
I decided a few months ago to put together some little packs filled with toiletries, socks, sanitary items etc that could maybe make life easier in some tiny way. Every year I collect the toiletries I get from hotels and in gift bags to do exactly this type of thing. Plus, I’ve also been buying other things to add and that are needed. (even added some choccies, because who doesn’t love them)
I contacted Orange Sky who are a great Brisbane based charity (now Nationally) that go out with vans that have washing machines and dryers as well as showers that homeless people can come and use. I love what they do, and I wanted to do something to help. It is a common misconception that most homeless people are addicted to drugs and alcohol and that is not the case. I arranged to go to one of their locations and hand out the packs I made. This morning was that time.
To say I was way out of my comfort zone and feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. I am very comfortable presenting on a stage to large groups of people and I’m not afraid to walk into a networking event alone however the thought of walking into a group of people that were so far removed from my world had me a bit anxious.
What if I inadvertently offended or insulted someone? What would they think of me? What if I say the wrong thing? How would they react to this strange girl coming into their world?
My goal was just to make one person’s day or put a smile on someone’s face. I could surely do that, right?
It was a real eye opener for me and made me appreciate what I have even more. I spoke to a couple of people that were very appreciative and grateful and shared a bit of their story.
I noticed an older lady sitting down from the group having something to eat so I walked over with one of the packs and offered it to her. We spoke for close to an hour and she shared many stories about her life. She has travelled all over and for her being homeless was just a short term thing while she got a few things sorted and could move back up to central QLD. Her smile and thanks made all the time & effort I had put in to create these packs totally worth. She had a very positive attitude and outlook which I thought was amazing. When I left she said she had really loved our conversation and it had made her day (which in turn put a massive smile on my face)
I spoke to another older guy who went and mowed lawns and gardens for elderly people who can’t do it themselves nor can they afford to pay someone. The only thing he asked for in return was a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits. He thanked me for what I was doing and said many people could do with these items to help them. Talk about a selfless man who only saw what he could do to help others that needed his help.
I also had a really courteous man come up to me (who hadn’t spoken to at any point) and say thank you very much and how much it was appreciated. Seeing his gratitude nearly bought me tears (but I saved those for the car ride home)
When I left I had so many emotions. I cried driving home, wishing I could do more. I was sad for people who don’t have someone to turn to? I was angry that more isn’t done to help these people (instead of doll bludgers getting handouts they don’t deserve). I was grateful I could do something small to help? I was determined to do more and help on a more regular basis. I want to be part of something that helps at grassroots level, that makes a real difference in someone’s life.
In talking to them I discovered that they would love books to read, puzzles to do, clothes to wear, underwear, non-perishable food and just someone to talk to.
So, I vowed to do something about it. Next year I will be regularly showing up with all of those types of things. I am having a big clean up over Xmas and going to be putting together a pile of things I can share with them during the year. I will also be adding things like socks, undies, sanitary items, word puzzles, thongs, and clothing to my shopping list.
If you want to join me on my mission, then I’d love you to get involved. It is a very rewarding feeling and if you can have a conversation or put on a smile on someone’s face, it is soooo worth the time & energy you take.
So, when the business of the new year kicks back in, remember to take some regular time outs to help people who need you. Small things can make a massive difference to someone’s life