Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What the?

I had the YUKKIEST email today from someone who runs a similar project to ours. I won't mention who, but they basically provide kids in care and adults in crisis clothing packs, activity packs and toiletry packs. You'd think they'd be glad of some help right?


The tone of the email was really abrupt and pretty rude I thought. Basically it said that they couldn't see the point of another group doing the same thing they are doing, I believe the exact words were, 'copy' what they are doing.

Pity I'd never even heard of their group before I started this project!

The email went on to say that their kits were copyrighted and I'm not allowed to copy them, (I'd like to see the paperwork on that), it said that they were 100% for the kids etc and the person running the project pays all the bills (as do I!) because nothing should be taken away from the kids. It also said becoming incorporated would be too expensive (it's $117). It also said that people have copied 'their' kits and haven't done it well and they have received backlash for it! But they didn't ask to see what we are doing, didn't look at our website, fanpage, blog or even call me.

The email also went on to say that they serviced the area in which I live twice a year anyway (so pretty much, why am I bothering...), which made me wonder why the agencies here are crying out for backpacks, shoes, hats, towels etc on a regular basis.

The most annoying thing about this email was that I wrote to them after a couple of kids I have in care turned up with the items provided by them. I wrote to thank and praise them and asked if there was some way we could support or help each other.

This particular group sent out 5500 packs during the year, which is brilliant. But they pack very differently to us. We pack everything needed into one pack, they pack a separate drawstring bag each for activities, toiletries and clothing. They mark their clothing as ages and we mark ours in sizes, and I only make that distinction because the clothes the 10 year old child came with were way too big as they were a size 8.

Do these people not understand that becoming incorporated allows access to funding opportunities like the Woolworths grants, Commonwealth bank grants as well as Govt and non govt grants, included funds specifically for admin purposes!

I am sitting here shaking my head in complete disbelief that this group had nothing positive at all to say about what we are doing, no words of encouragement, or maybe, "how about you guys do the far north of the state and we'll do central and the south east". That would have been a wonderful idea and would allow both groups to really focus on what we are doing.

I'm just really annoyed and shocked and I guess naive to think that everyone I contact would want to show support.

On a much more positive note - I just got an email from someone who saw our site and who would like to look into becoming a drop off point and possibly help more with packing the bags in Brisbane, (this 'other' group that sent the yukky email are based in the South East, but the general public haven't heard of them).

Copyrighted packs! bah!
'Copy' their service! bah!
It's like I'm taking their job, but we aren't getting paid!!!! I'm mystified. Even if they'd been polite with a 'thanks, but we are busy with our own stuff, best of luck', I could have lived with that. But....!

I just don't get why people wouldn't want to work together for the kids sake? What is with that!?

I'd love to know what you think about this. Feel free to leave a comment. Maybe I'm more shocked than I should be?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Storage area . . . Sorted!!! (well, nearly)


With many, many thanks to the team at the Innisfail Overflow store and the big boss himself, 'David the Generous and Charitable', Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids now has a place to call home.

A few weeks ago myself, Tracy and Jaala spent the morning organising, tidying, sneezing, dusting and putting shelving together in the warehouse section of the Innisfail Overflow. It was a lot of work, especially considering my spatial awareness is a kin to that of a goldfish in a really big tank! 'Oh look, there's a nice treasure chest, I wonder..... Oh look! there's a nice treasure chest, I wonder...' so you get the picture.

Luckily for me Tracy is the Queen of organising, so after she explained at length how things should be set up and why, (pretty much did everything except draw me a picture in the dust on the yet to be cleaned shelving), we set to work.

Actually, once we got into it, the area took shape really quickly. Although, I did have to call Bruce in from work in his lunch break to help us put up the shelving. Some things are just too complicated for two blondes and a spatially challenged brunette! 

(the afore mentioned blondes, the brunette is taking the picture!)
(this is me taking the pictures!)

Phil and Gilda of Liquid Tiles Cairns sourced and donated the fantastic shelving. I don't know what we'd do without their support. I can't believe how lucky we have been to have these wonderful people wanting to help our project!

Since these pix were taken, I have dropped more donations off and finally taken the last of the shelving in. I think we are going to need a small army of helper fairies to sort and organise all this before our next packing day! Never did I imagine how much support there would be for this project. I'm so humbled and honored that individuals and businesses are choosing to support something I'm so passionate about.

If you are a local in the Cairns, Tablelands or Innisfail area, don't forget you can drop items off at your Overflow store. There is a wheelie bin there with our logo on it. You can shop in store for things to donate or byo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Family Capers Community Hero!

 The very first recipient of the Kids @ FC Community Hero! 
Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is the proud sponsor of the monthly hero award. Each of the three nominees for this month had inspiring stories of the selfless love that we so often see children give, without ever expecting anything back.

I was so amazed to read Lochie's story and so very impressed by his achievements in such a short time, (he is just 7 years old). The following extract is taken directly from the Family Capers website and was written by Lochie's loving mum.

Lochie - Nominated by his Mum, Louise

I would like to nominate my son Lochie Graham for the family hero award.

The list is endless when it comes to what my sons gives his family and the world around him. 200 words seems impossible to fit it in. But I will do my best.

Lochie was a hero when he was conceived. I had a neurological immune disease that was terminal prior to becoming pregnant, and this miracle pregnancy suppressed my immune system, hence stopping me from dying, giving me a little extra time. I thought I would get an extra 9 months because of him. Instead I was cured, he gave me my life back. So Lochie was a hero before he even took his first breath into this world.

Since Lochie was 2 he has shared his home, his toys, his room, his mother with over 60 foster children that we care for in our home.

The month he turned 4 he left behind the world he knew to travel overseas to do volunteer work with me for 3 months. Whilst there Lochie taught an adult how to swim and this adult who ran an orphanage, is opening a swimming pool for children in Africa, naming it the Lochie Graham Swim School.

2009 Lochie broke the record for his entire schools history on raising money for MS readathon.

In January this year Lochie was named the only Official Ambassador of Salem Australia, a charity dedicated to helping underprivileged children around the world and environmental projects. As part of his Ambassador work Lochie designed a Jerry School (inspired by his hero Jerry Lewis) in which Jerry Lewis is having dinner with him next month to discuss his ideas and drawings. Jerry School in Lochies words “is a free school for sad people to go to so that they can learn how to laugh again.”

He has a love affair with animals, he has rescued a kitten and a bunny in the last 2 years, becoming part of the family Maverick and Sam.

None of this is what makes him a hero to me. He is all that is good and pure in my world, and he always gives unconditionally, no matter how much I take. We have mother’s day, there’s father’s day, there’s many ‘days’, that honour us as adults. We don’t often get to honour our children with a ‘day’ where we remember how much they love, and how much they give. They are, after all, what makes us significant in the first place.

If you know of a child who you think is worthy of this monthly award, please nominate them at the FC website. Just to be nominated is a huge honour.

This month Lochie will receive a satchel, cooler bag, activity pack, books, a photo holder teddy and face washers from Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids.

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