They say there is no such thing as a free feed which is exactly right, someone is paying somewhere. I mention this as I attended Alex Surf Club for the launch of the Red Shield Appeal for the Salvation Army which the club has hosted for about the last 10 years. The deal is the club provides a free breakfast, local business folk bring guests for a free breakfast and Jo Desmond MCs the event wonderfully. There is usually a guest speaker and a person that has been assisted by the Salvos and then you get to donate to what is the most worthy cause I know.
The guest speakers this year were Olympic gold medallist Natalie Cook, who was amazing, tying sport and life’s ups and downs together beautifully and Mark, someone who has been helped by the Salvos. Two completely different stories, one presented by a pure professional and another delivered from the heart. With all due respect to the other nine years, these two were the best.
One of the most moving parts was Mark telling the story about being homeless and coming across a CEO sleep out ironically to raise money for homelessness. He went to use the toilets at the venue but was turned away as they were exclusively for all the wonderful CEOs sleeping out.
I totally understand how that could happen but it highlighted to me about how conscious we should be of other people’s situations.
The Salvation Army has always been close to my heart. From my early days as a kid spending Christmas in Maroochydore and following the Salvos around the streets listening to them singing Christmas carols to being in the pub when they used to come into every Friday night with their War Cry paper and rattling their donation box.
In between all that, my dear Father told me on more than one occasion, “the only religion worth its salt is the Salvos.” Thank you to the Alex members for their support of the Red Shield Appeal and thank you to all who attended, thanks to Jo, Nat and Mark for making it a great occasion. As a workmate used to say to me, “there but by the grace of God go I,” meaning never judge anyone. It could be you walking in their shoes (if they have any). Dig deep and Thank God for the Salvos.