Every month on the first Sunday, Nicholas and I volunteer for Rosies- friends on the street. We all wear red polo shirts to distinguish ourselves from the patrons, mainly in case of any altercations. There are many outreaches around the Brisbane area. Our area is called Brisbane North. Our Rosies is held at Rotary Park on the corner of Graham and Gympie Rd, Aspley.
We are the only Rosies that give out a cooked lunch and groceries. All the other areas only have coffee and a chat.
There are generally between 25-60 patrons who attend throughout the year. There are quite a few that come every month, and those who only come occasionally. Some of the patrons live at the Brisbane North Rental Village (which was previously called the Aspley Acres Caravan Park).
You get to know some of the patrons quite well as many are regulars, and you notice when they are gone. I miss some of the patrons that have moved on since I first started (around 5 years ago now), but I am also happy for them, as it generally means that their lives have improved and they don’t have to rely on Rosies anymore.
I remember hearing one story that one of the patrons said that he was lucky that we came that day as he hadn’t eaten for a few days and was so hungry that he was eyeing off the bush turkey that was roaming around the park.
Hearing these stories and volunteering for Rosies has allowed me to appreciate the abundant blessings that I have received.
Since Covid, Rosies has stopped giving as much funding to our outreach and quite a lot of food and grocery items are donated. So last year when I received a large number of Coles and Woolworths gift cards (from the craft group of one of our parishioner’s friend) was very exciting. The patrons thought they were wonderful and thanked me very much. One of the men was so excited, he said he was going to use his to buy prawns.
Every Christmas St Paul’s donate a number of hampers to our church, some of which Nicholas brings down for Rosies, generally around January after the Christmas donations are a distant memory. At Christmas time Padua also donate a box of non-perishable which the patrons always look forward to.
The volunteers come from all over the place, some come from Wynnum to help out. A few of the volunteers have been helping out with Rosies for quite a number of years.
I’m sure Nicholas would agree that it is humbling to be able to volunteer our time to those who are less fortunate than us. It is a rewarding experience to share our gifts with those who are lonely, marginalised and some even homeless through incidents that are generally out of their control.
One of the patrons is now reciting the Welcome to Country before the meal is served and the volunteers recite the following prayer also.
make our hearts so human,
that others may feel at home with us,
so like Yours,
that others may feel at home with You,
so forgetful of self
that we might simply become the place where you and they meet
in the power of Your love and the joy of Your friendship
Anne Stosic and Nicholas Whereat