I’ve always tried to do the right thing – pick up litter even if I didn’t drop it, bake things late into the night and decorate them in the wee small hours of the morning (even though I’m no good at either but it’s for the bake sale that’s raising money for my kids’ school), volunteer here and there, particularly if it gets me out of something I don’t want to do.
Lordy be, I volunteered for everything at school – selling Legacy badges in the city (always go for the men, they’ll actually stop, but never have coins so you’re guaranteed at least $5), pen, daffodil, teddy bear, red-nose selling…you name it, I was happy to approach total strangers and try and sell them something they were likely to never, ever use.
When we lived in LA I got involved with Meals on Wheels, where every other volunteer was at least 76 and in danger of needing the service themselves. I love working with geriatrics. I find their lack of flexibility reassuring – I may have to spend most of my life negotiating, compromising, conceding and sharing, but once I hit somewhere around 70 it seems those societal rules no longer apply and I can just say no, even if I have no good reason for saying it.
We’d often have city dignitaries along for the ride for publicity purposes, but my sidekick never got more exciting than the Chief of Police. Nonetheless, this gave me a chance to get right into his ear about the $72 fine I copped every week for leaving my car parked on the side of the road that was due for a street sweep. I’d just moved from NYC and except for when I’d had gigs at theatres in the mid-west of America, I hadn’t driven a car in 7 years. I could barely remember to fill it up with petrol, let alone which side of the street I could park it on.
Things got a bit hectic upon our return to Oz, and for a while there I was an armchair do-gooder and donated to various causes from the comfort of my own couch. The rush of do-gooderness is almost the same and it’s convenient – it can be done around the overnight feeds of newborn babes.
Last year, however, we stepped up the action and launched our inaugural Hartsyard Charity Dinner with all proceeds going to Gunawirra, a local organisation that supports Aboriginal families and, in particular, their children. The more than $7000 we raised went to serving hot meals 5 times a week at a daycare in Armidale, for the building and use of life-size nutrition puppets and for teaching women and children how to cook easy and nutritious meals for their families. That I grew up in Armidale has a wonderful sense of synchronicity for me. That they used the money for food has a wonderful sense of appropriateness for Gregory!
This year’s feast is set for Tuesday 27th of October at 630pm and we’d love you to join us.
While Gregory reserves the right to make minor changes according to his chef whimsy, here’s what the menu looks like so far.
Tickets are $275, include and food and beverages and can be purchased here .
Last year there was such a beautiful energy in the air – a delightful collection of people who knew nothing about each other, but were all united in support of this dynamo little charity.
They always say that altruism makes you feel good.
This sort of altruism will also make you feel full.
Join us, we’d be delighted to have you.