First Sunday Club October 2010: Community Angels
Forget the blue bubble snow dome of Rome and the kitsch “I heart Athens!” teaspoon. Forget the “Bula Fiji!” tea towel, the Queenstown fridge magnet and the classic “I got wrecked on Great Keppel” stubby holder. Really, if I want friends and family to see where I’ve travelled all I need do is send them into my bathroom.
How do I say this? Um, it was pointed out to me recently that I appear to have the world’s largest collection of complimentary hotel shampoo bottles. See, now you’re imagining me swanning around at home in a Marriott fluffy bath robe, glancing at my Hilton alarm clock, admiring my water-coloured parrot print I lifted from a dodgy resort in Noosa. No, it’s not like that. My home phone doesn’t have a “Dial 9 for reception” notice on it. I promise you I don’t go to hotels and channel my inner-Winona Ryder. But those itty-bitty complimentary bottles of shampoo? Can’t help myself.
The really idiotic thing is that I rarely use them. They tend to sit in my toiletries bag ready for when I go away … to another hotel where I can pilfer more shampoo and bath gel bottles. (Don’t judge me. Too late?)
This week I discovered the perfect way to put my addiction to good use. Homeless shelters. Our homeless shelters are always desperate for the bare essentials – shampoo, soaps, toothbrushes, deodorants. That kind of thing. And I’ve been told those little hotel shampoo bottles are the perfect donation item. So that’s where my stash is going from now on.
And it’s homeless shelters that are part of the focus of the First Sunday Club this month. Recently I heard about a group of Brisbane women who call themselves “Community Angels”. Working as a registered charity they dedicate their time to raising money, collecting donations and finding volunteers for a range of small charities in Brisbane including the Pindari Women’s Shelter in Spring Hill which houses up to 30 homeless women at a time; Young Mothers for Young Women which offers family support and education to young women who are parenting; and the Deception Bay Flexible Learning Centre Network which offers education to kids who are struggling with family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse and low socio-economic conditions.
Led by Mary Bourke, these women are dedicated to fulfilling needs where they find them.
“At the moment there are ten active members,” Mary tells me. “The original conception of Community Angels started close to six years ago. Some of us had worked together previously supporting homelessness in the community and we discovered the need for more support for women and children in the Brisbane area.”
I say let’s give them a helping hand and allow them to put our $10 to whatever need is currently greatest.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.