Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lets just get the job done!

Yvonne (my wonderful Flood Recovery manager) and I asked Careers Australia to train unemployed people in Fernvale to rebuild houses of people desperately in need.

We thought the rebuilds would cost us thousands, but with the help of many local organisations and donors we have rebuilt three houses for $1700!!

I am so proud by what can be achieved by people without agendas, without training, without red tape.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Found some frenemies

I had my first political event... and also learnt what a portmanteau is!

I went to Lindsay Fox's fundraiser for the Premier's Relief Fund on the weekend and spoke to Anna Bligh and Major General Mike Slater. He is a humble, hard working and empathic.  I really like him.  I really like her too.  I told MG Mike GIVIT was busy and being effective with the resources we have, but also moving forward I would like a list of the flood affected so that they can be legitimised and contacted easily.

I asked him if we could have access to the Red Cross/Police records and he said that the (accurate) list was with the insurance companies.  I have already contacted the insurance companies and expected no reply, but MG Mike replies "the insurance companies will not give the Government access to the people's records due to the Privacy Act", but with one raised brow - he knew there was other reasons.  I usually respect the Privacy Act of 88, and consider is one of the most important features of GIVIT - but we need accurate records and insurance information to find those affected.    I am sure they would release their information to charities and the government for funds/donations.   He said they are (gridlocked) because of the insurance company's delays.  I dare say the government and insurance companies are now officially  "frenemies"!

Things are desperate for many families.  There are now several charities literally door knocking in the Lockyer Valley.  The 'door knocking groups' are arguing and seem to be in competition with each other too.  The competition isn't working, as it has now got to the point where we find out about a desperate farmer/individuals (with the credit card ready to buy what ever he needs) and he resents (or is very suspicious of) our call.  He doesn't want to explain what he needs one more time, he is sick of being let down or she is tired of broken promises. Honestly, most of these lists are overwhelming with farm equipment and things that just require large amounts of money..

Just today I have heard about a bigger charity trying to knock over a smaller hard working organisations, that has sprung up since the floods. They say they do not have DGR or something similar - as if that is a sign of efficiency!

I love GIVIT, and how it is inclusive of all charities and groups.  If they work hard with impoverished, marginalised or vulnerable people THEY ARE IN!  As I was reminded today "it takes a village.." so drop the claws and work together!


FYI - Apparently the word Frenemy is a term used to describe personal, geopolitical, and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions who is a friend or to a partner who is simultaneously a competitor and rival.  It has been used as "early as 1953" - but hey that wasn't that long ago!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A letter from a recipient! What!

Dear Juliette, (I think she must have got my email from the website About Us page)

Today I was rendered speechless, when I received a massive bag of goodies via Givit. Inside was everything I needed and so much more - winter pyjamas, underwear, beautiful tops, boardshorts and a swimsuit and shoes for physiotherapy, the warmest yet lightest doona, towels... so much  more. I was blown away. They were such beautiful things, too!

Whoever did this for me had taken so much care and time and is so generous and I would like to thank him/her from the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank them enough. It is obvious too that whoever donated these items genuinely loved doing so and to feel that someone out there was so kind and cared so very much is amazing, so very heart warming.

There is no way I would have been able to afford any of these items myself, and they have been given to me just a week after I asked, so very quickly. Just in time to keep me warm and to help me starting my physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. I have come a long way fighting my eating disorder but in winter I still have a lot of trouble with the cold and now I am going to be able to sleep comfortably. I am also going to be able to do my walking program and the physio/hydrotherapy with the clothing I need which does amazing things for my confidence and takes a load off my mind.

The first thing I did after marvelling over these beautiful and timely gifts was to jump in the shower so I could use one of the towels, got dressed in new undies and pyjamas (okay maybe this is a bit tmi lol) and dived into bed under the doona... bliss!

Please can you thank this wonderful donor for me. I cannot thank them enough. I could rave forever :) :) 

Thank you with all my heartfelt best wishes,

Crying again, I will comment later.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I have had a few memorable highlights in my life.. and this is one of them!

Kyra and I were invited to see the furniture that a new women's refuge have taken off the virtual warehouse!

We had tears, excitement and more joy than we can explain as we saw the amazing donations, the quality, the generosity of our GIVIT community.  The quality was exceptional!!

 As it is a women's refuge we cannot tell you the location, but it is in Brisbane and close to transport and shops..

It felt like we were in a resort!

All the women who will be sitting here on this couch have run from an abusive home with 3-5 children.

They are hiding from abusive husbands and partners.

We think it is a good place to hide!

All the rooms have a cot ready. 

The cupboards are filled with toys.

All the linen is from GIVIT donors..

This unit is beautiful!  We can't believe the funiture is used!

All the kids rooms were inviting, and lots of fun!

The houses are homes!

Here is Kyra our National Manager.  It is so wondrous to see the donations really helping women in need!  Thank you thank you thank you - to all who donated!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maybe compassion is the elixir of life.

Kate (at manages all our major donations and also does the most crying in the office.  She emailed me today thanking me (!) for the opportunity to work at GIVIT, and be apart of this amazing world of giving.  Yesterday she co-ordinated a great donation to a wonderful flood affected family, and the details are sad but inspiring.  Tears flowing for quite a while this morning.. it felt like my heart broke and opened at the same time!
Kate is so so hearty.  She is a full time volunteer, and is in love with her demanding role.  Her love is deep and also on her sleeve.  I don't know what I would do without her.   I have never said as much but she looks younger and younger to me every day.
I was thinking about Kate, and her compassion when I read this article -certainly not in the first part though :)
The Huffington Post describes "The anti-inflammatory properties of compassion have now begun to be studied. In a 2009 study, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine, trained 33 people in a Tibetan Buddhist compassion meditation, which involved the structured generation of feelings of compassion, and compared them with a group of 28 people who didn't do the meditation. After six weeks those who did the most compassion meditation had much lower levels of inflammation than those who did the least or none at all. "
It explains that inflammation is related to aging, so this research "certainly tells us that compassion could slow the aging process."
I feel younger too! But haven't noticed any of those other changes!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Website launch

I am really nostalgic!  Terribly nostalgic!

I just want to acknowledge my little (Brisbane based) website that is going to sleep in 2 hours.  I set it up not sure if anyone would donate anything, but hoping someone would.  I took a huge leap of faith in people - sincerely hoping  - day and night!  They did, they donated everything from nail clippers to houses.  I have cried a thousand joyful tears looking at the website and I am going to miss the site "created by a mummy" as I call it.

It's like your son/daughter going to college feeling - a joyful goodbye but the type with fear and tears. But, I am the one that feels like I have grown up.

Again, I feel I am taking a huge leap of faith - but now with 12 friends (volunteers) to support me in managing the.. butterflies. Now, thankfully, I don't have to high-five the plant when something great gets donated!

Ok, so, farewell baby.  I love the balloons so much - but sadly you have to go  :( 

I was about to print every page, but you wouldn't believe it, I have run out of paper!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The houses are going home.

I received a really wonderful and nourishing email today.  I really wanted to share it - for many reasons.  All the time, money, effort, stress, good intentions, hours, dedication, love and willingness to help people is really WORKING!
We donated 4 houses through GIVIT during the floods.  Two donors pulled out, but the other two created this wonderful reality.
Sue from Adopt A Family wrote to me today:
I have some very exciting news to share!!!!

Both of the houses (Wynnum and Bulimba) are coming off their blocks next Wednesday midnight!!

We have a white knight removalist who is transferring them to a holding yard at cost and babysitting them free of charge until we can get them to the Lockyer Valley.

We have also finally got the 2 families chosen for them!!

Bulimba is going to a couple whose sister, brother-in-law and nephew all perished in the floods

Wynnum is going to a family who the son pushed his sister into the roof cavity and went to help his mum and dad - his mum was pinned behind a fridge and the water circling eventually washed them both out of the house. The son clambered into the roof with his sister and eventually they punched holes through the roof to get to safety. They found their parents 2 days later, 2 kilometers down the road along with their baby brother's ashes that was stillborn.

A very sad story for these kids - but collectively - starting with you guys(!!!) we have pulled a miracle from our hats to provide this family a brief glimmer of hope for the future.

I know you're probably just wiping away the running mascara - but this is what makes all those long, tough days really worthwhile!!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the privilege of being a part of something so amazing.

Sue Kennedy

We need to find these "white knights" and acknowledge them as the heros they truely are! I don't know how to acknowledge Sue.  She is a.. queen of hearts.  I have not met her yet (not for the lack of trying but she is ridiculously busy) but she is connecting all of us to something bigger than my intentions of 'being connected and donating to those in need' to actually giving to those in need. She is my 'direct', she is our 'charity' our 'front line', and she is "doing a Dave" (an extraordinary act of human kindness).