‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’
Theodore Roosevelt said this apparently.
Can’t tell you a thing about his politics, but my father said this to me so many years ago and it’s always stuck with me.
At high school that meant signing up to help every charity that knocked on my school’s doors. What a racket that was.
Off I’d go into the city to sell badges, pens, teddies, chocolate, flowers…
I’d have supported the endangered left-armed antelope fund if it meant getting out of double German on a Friday morning.
At university it manifested itself in me volunteering with Red Cross to lead holiday programs on remote indigenous communities. I’ve still got the shell the older women presented to me at the end of my time as they danced the dances of their different dreaming towards me.
One could argue who got the most out of that spectacular series of experiences.
Then I moved to New York and I was so poor, sometimes I wished I was a charity. At one point I could only afford to rent a small room in a building with a shared bathroom two floors above that they had started to renovate but had suddenly stopped, so while the water pressure was great, all it did was stir up the dust and chips of concrete from the un-tiled floor.
I would wait until the nearby bakery closed each night then join the homeless people going through the bags of leftover stale bagels. They were welcome to the onion ones, but I’d fight ‘em over the cinnamon and raisin.
My friends and I would smuggle ketchup packets out of diners and mix them with hot water for a very average tomato soup.
Grapes, (if ever there were funds for such luxuries) were removed from their stems prior to weighing so no unnecessary expense was laid out.
But I was in New York City, singing, dancing and auditioning my way through my twenties, so really, on the list of grand adventures, I was surely having one of them.
Shortly thereafter I got hitched to my fella and we moved to LA to pursue fame, fortune and…no we didn’t. Gregory worked about 79 hours a day running the kitchens for a Gucci hotel in Santa Monica and I hostessed at a restaurant, giving Tom Hanks a quiet secluded table and telling the woman who said ‘don’t you know who I am’ that there would be a two-and-a-half hour wait.
But now we had a few bucks to rub together, so could support a few things here and there, and once a week I volunteered delivering meals to the elderly. I love the oldies. They’re opinionated, forgetful, clumsy, blunt and appreciative of a good, cheap meal. We’re really not too different them and I.
Next stop was the land down under and I was accidentally philanthropic because I got so muddled by my own accounting system that we slipped into the new financial year before I’d invoiced for a performing gig and I just felt too dumb to contact them that long afterwards.
The opening of Hartsyard meant neither time nor money, but we are now 2.5 years in and are absolutely delighted to be able to hold our first ever charity dinner with all proceeds going to the One Health Organisation’s Gunawirra project based in nearby Redfern. The funds we raise will go specifically to their early intervention program, which teaches young indigenous children how to make better nutrition choices through cooking classes and preschool food gardens. How very apt for Hartsyard!
We’re calling it ‘Tending the Yard’ and we’d be thrilled if you’d consider joining us.
Tuesday 11th of November
The evening begins at 630 with champagne and cocktails upon arrival.
Gregory promises to ‘bury you in food’, and with the booze flowing freely and local artist Zachari Watt busting out some tunes, it should be a fabulous way to spend an evening.
Tax deductible tickets can be purchased through this One Health Organisation link.
Belonging to a community is very important to Gregory and me, and contributing to its growth and development even more so. This idea has been a long time coming, and we’re so happy we can finally pull it off!
Looking forward to sharing the evening with you.
Naomi, Gregory and the rest of the Hartsyard Team.