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STREETDOCTOR - WINTER WARMER COLLECTION
103 backpacks. Approximately $7,500. 154 donors. 2,184 individual items. Whichever way you look at it, it’s strength in numbers and it’s powerful. This is what was delivered to StreetDoctor for our local streetfolk in May this year.
If you’ve been in my life for a while, you’ll know I hit you up for help a couple of times a year for different charities and each time, you step up to support me, and in turn, support those I am trying to help and I can never quite find the right words to thank you for that. Thanks for caring about people you don’t know, and for being so willing to bring some joy to the lives of others without any thought for direct gratitude or acknowledgement from them. Thanks for not treating them as invisible, but as equal. Thanks for providing them with some hope. I cannot name everyone that reached out for the fear of missing someone out but so many stories came of this collection that made my heart smile. Children that donated their pocket money or approached people in their lives to knit beanies & scarves. Two women that didn’t know each other in the same line at Red Dot holding collection items, both realising they were collecting for me, for this cause. Friends who posted on group pages and public platforms, and amongst their own workplaces to generate momentum. Businesses who placed their trust in me by collecting whole packs, box upon box of toothpastes and toothbrushes, boxes of beanies, and deliveries of shower gels. One particular friend, who when she found out one of our charities donating items had let me down (so I bought these things for all 100 packs out of my own pocket) secretly rallied her workplace for donations so I would not be personally any more out of pocket. The sweet, sweet 10 year old girl who left a gift at my door “to put a smile on my face like I do for so many others”. Strangers that turned up on my doorstep with items. People that arranged cash donations and Kmart deliveries to my door. The souls I met that received one of the packs early. So many smiles, emotional tears and more gratitude than I can even express.
Massive shout-out to Ryan, who sacrifices me, and our house to each of these causes. Between my two businesses, holding down a part time job, and these collections, it can’t be easy being present in the house with someone who isn’t really ‘present’ in the house. It also can’t be easy being with someone that spends more time at the shop buying items for collections than she does shopping for food, or that becomes an over-tired, often cranky, sometimes delirious caffeine dependent life form while these unfold, and always, always, grow beyond my expectations. His patience and support for me while I work on these is what makes them possible. People often ask me how I find the time. One person even told me I have time because I don’t have kids. I didn’t have time, but I made time. The reality is, you find time for what’s important. No excuses.
There is a stigma around homeless people. That they’re in this situation because of their own misgivings and shortcomings. However, homelessness is not the result of personal failings. The main causes of homelessness are poverty, unemployment, illness, and family violence. Sure, some have messed up. Made bad choices. But since when do people not deserve a second chance? Some dignity? Some care? If this was a person you cared about, you’d want that for them, just as I want that for these people. By coming together to create what we have here, you have seen a homeless person as fully human, equal to yourself, and deserving of the same safety and security you enjoy. That’s pretty amazing.
Going forward, I ask this of you. Make eye contact with these folk. It’s something you take for granted every day. Connecting with people during a conversation, meeting their eyes, and feeling seen. For you, it probably happens dozens of times a day, but for people living on the street, it’s a rare occurrence. Imagine a day where none of your coworkers would look at you, your family all ignored you when you tried to speak to them, and even strangers on the street went out of their way to avoid you. How would that feel? Now imagine it happening every day. More often, people shuffle by quickly, looking absolutely anywhere but at the invisible person they’ve chosen to ignore. It’s a common behaviour, but what’s strange is the number of people who don’t fully realize what they’re doing. Stranger still is the people who think the other person won’t notice they’re being ignored. It’s amazing how far a simple acknowledgment of another person’s presence can go toward helping that person feel seen rather than invisible and preventing dehumanization. If you only ever do one thing to improve your interactions with the homeless people you meet, let this be it.
There are around 9000 homeless in WA (either on the street, couch surfing, sleeping in cars or in temporary refuge accommodation) and roughly 200(ish) in Perth are sleeping totally rough, in open, public spaces. 103 of those will now be slightly better off thanks to you. But beyond the number is the difference it makes to each individual touched by it. Whether we help 500 people or 1, the impact on each individual person is what matters most.
Beyond this very tangible collection of items is the very intangible impact it has on the recipient. These are warmer heads and hands, but more importantly, warmer hearts. These packs provide hope, and with hope comes a better ability to cope. Thank you for your trust, your support, and for making a difference to over 100 people doing it tough. Together, we did good.
LITTLE DOVES - MEMORY BOXES
Recently I finished up a collection for Little Doves, one of boho & prosecco's chosen charities.
Little Doves is a friendship and support group for mothers who have experienced loss. It was started by two Perth women who met after both losing full term babies. They offer a community where women who have suffered the loss of their baby can be supported by other's who have experienced what they have been through.
Little Doves also make the memory boxes that mothers receive from the hospitals after a loss. They are filled with items to help them grieve and to make the short time they have with their baby in hospital as special as possible. There are many mothers who are not ready when they have an emergency birth, and have nothing to wrap their babies with or even items to have photos with. The boxes have items such as small blankets, wraps, teddies, photo frames, candles, small photo albums, flower seeds, face washes, beanies (from golf ball size up) to help the parents create a lifetime of memories with the baby in just a few short minutes or hours.
We hand made up and donated a bunch of boxes last month. Special thanks to Casey from Socks and Stitches for hand making with love, teeny tiny beanies and booties to go in each box.
While the number of boxes delivered is a mere decimal of the statistics, the impact on the family that receives one remains the most important thing.
CHRISTMAS HAMPERS FOR FAMILIES IN NEED
98. That’s how many of the below Christmas hampers were delivered to Street Doctor to help Perth families struggling over the Christmas period. But the volume is not correlated to the direct impact this has on each individual that receives a hamper. When times are tough, Christmas places additional pressure on these families to provide making them feel shame and embarrassment.
Many many thanks to those who contributed. Thanks for coming forward with kindness, generosity and compassion. Thanks for caring about people you don’t know, and for being so willing to bring some joy to the lives of others without any thought for direct gratitude or acknowledgement from them. Your altruism is special, always hold onto that.
Special shout out to Julie Lord, Samantha Mackenzie, Jasmine Long and Victoria Keep for helping collect and gift wrap. When trying to pull off something like this, strength in numbers is a very real thing.
I’d also like to offer my sincere thanks to Jason Davis and his team at Sell My Shares. He saw the collection details on the human.kind platform on my website whilst booking his company Christmas party through me and rallied up his people, who turned up to their Christmas picnic with 7 HUGE hampers they’d all put together. Jason, your ability to influence your team through your leadership says many things about you and you’ve clearly got some very compassionate, generous, heart driven people working for you. Many, many thanks.
Honourable mention to my parents, who dropped everything to help me deliver when I realised they wouldn’t all fit in the van. Within 20 mins of my call they were pulling into the warehouse to help me load up their cars. Having a daughter than can’t sit still means they never get to sit still either but they’ve got my back every time.
With 43,000 families seeking food refuge each month, I get overwhelmed that this has just scratched the surface and I have to manage my frustrations of wanting to do more. But then I remember that I can’t do everything, but I can do something, and that’s better than nothing. From this concept came my human.kind (be both) project, and there will be plenty more where this came from. Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already had.
Sincere thanks again, to those who donated, please know how much difference this makes to a recipient. You’ve done good.