I have just walked in through the door, kicked my shoes off my poor aching feet, armed myself with a well earned beer, and sat down to write this before collapsing into a crumpled heap.
The day started early, with the Glass House Mountains contingent heading out at 05:45 hrs this morning, in order to be at the RNA showgrounds in plenty of time to do the final setting up before HCD kicked off at 08:00 hrs. Unfortunately, traffic conditions, in the form of a 5 car prang on the Bruce Highway, closely followed by another prang just metres away as the first one was finally cleared up, were against us. However, we arrived safe and sound eventually, but missed a couple of our members dropping off donations on the way to work because of our tardiness.
The Diary Pavillion proved to be very spacious, if a little on the hot side. We had three tables for our donations, and were able to expand them out slightly to give us a bit more storage space behind them. Chairs however were at a premium. It is amazing just how much space over 2000 knitted/crocheted/sewn articles can occupy.
As per usual, we could have given away twice as many blankets. The indigenous coloured items disappeared in a blink of an eye, so if you were late out of bed this morning, you missed out on the Red Black and Yellow blankets, scarves and beanies. Also in very high demand were the adult jumpers and cardigans, as well as the toys. Stuffed knitted animals, teddies, rag dolls went like hot cakes. We never seem to have enough of them.
As far as position went, we were in a very good spot today, very close to the entrance to the medical services and hair dressers, so there wasn't much chance of us being missed. We hadn't been placed in a corner at the back. For once we were in the main thoroughfare, so were able to connect with a lot of people.
It is always good to see a familiar face as it lets you know that someone you have met before is still safe and well, but at the same time disheartening, as it means that they are still in need of assistance, and haven't been able to get out of the Homelessnees Trap. Having been regular contributors to HCD for a number of years now, a few good relationships have been built up. There were more than a few hugs and kisses.
Thankfully however, there were many fewer tears than I have experienced before. Of all of the HCDs that I have attended, I would have to say that this was the happiest so far. Yes, there was a sad story or two, but on the whole the whole event was upbeat and positive in it's atmosphere.
One gentleman was telling us that he has been on the wagon for 5 1/2 weeks now. He is obviously a doting Grandfather, as all he wanted from us was things that he could give to his Grandchildren. However, because of his problem with alcohol, his son, and his daughter had refused him access to their children. His behaviour when under the influence of drink was too disruptive to family and home life. So, wholly and solely because his Grandchildren were his reason for living, he was taking the plunge and giving up the grog. 5 1/2 weeks is an admirable start to kicking an addition. We all have our fingers crossed that this gentleman will continue to be successful.
As well as a constant stream of HCD Clients coming to our tables, we also had a constant stream of other service organisation coming over to visit. Over the years we have build up quite a rapport with other Service Providers. At the end of the day, any items that we have that are left over, and it is only ever a few, we give directly to these organisations so that they can distribute them to their clients. It is heartbreaking when the leader of Brisbane Youth Services comes asking for baby clothes, only to learn that some children as young as 13 or 14 are themselves having children. A few years ago, I may have become very judgemental when hearing such news, now, my heart just goes out to someone so young who finds themselves in such a situation. We can only imagine what circumstances has lead to that.
By the time we were packing up for the day, we had all run out of Business Cards, and Peter had collected a veritable mountain of them from the other Service Providers. In a few weeks time, Karen and Peter will start to call around to all the other organisations who were there today to ask if we can be of assisstance to their work at all. Hopefully at the same time, we will start to receive a few calls of offers of donations, whether that be yarn or funds. Certainly everyone that I spoke to from a Service Providers was left in no doubt at all that we would happily receive any donations of yarn, however large, that may come our way!!!
The few mini Christmas Stockings containly lollies that we took along were also willingly accepted, as too were a few items of costume jewellry. From previous experience, people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness still want to give gifts to family and friends at Christmas, but of course are not in a position to buy anything. Therefore a few such items can go a long way to assissting them.
So, in closing today and to reiterate; the real Hot Cakes of the day were:-
Adult Jumpers/Cardigans, especially for men
If you are wondering what to make over the next few weeks, that list should get you started.
From a very tired, but emotionaly fulfilled Kate (T.O.O.), I will be touch again soon.