Gen­er­ous ges­ture gives home­less man hope

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE -

BLACK­ETT’S Bre Paana­nen, 9, epit­o­mised what DoSome­thing Day was re­ally about.

The young­ster spent Mon­day night cook­ing a chicken fried rice from scratch and gave it to a home­less man she’d seen near the shops the night be­fore. Mother Aimee Paana­nen said Bre was up­set she had a big warm house and he did not.

“I couldn't be more proud,” Mrs Paana­nen said. “When we met the man we re­alised he was blind so he was re­sis­tant at first. In the end he was so grate­ful – he couldn't stop thank­ing her.”

IF Syd­ney had a kind­ness in­dex, it would have hit new highs last week for the first ever DoSome­thing Day.

Across the city and the coun­try peo­ple paused, took a breath and did some­thing nice for some­one else.

From small ges­tures such as buy­ing a cof­fee for a stranger, to help­ing out at a school for the dis­abled and bak­ing pies for the home­less, the good deeds were count­less and they’ve been shared and cel­e­brated on so­cial me­dia in a re­mark­able groundswell of good­will.

The day was a huge suc­cess with more than 1000 peo­ple shar­ing their day on so­cial me­dia, driv­ing the hash­tag #dosomethingday to trend at num­ber one in Syd­ney and at num­ber two in Aus­tralia.

On Instagram, more than 400 peo­ple posted their good deeds at #giveyourbest and thou­sands more cap­tured the spirit of the day and sent their pho­tos to NewsLo­cal’s pa­pers around the coun­try.

DoSome­thing Day was Aus­tralia’s big­gest cel­e­bra­tion of com­mu­nity vol­un­teer­ing and ran­dom acts of kind­ness, a part­ner­ship be­tween News Corp Aus­tralia’s com­mu­nity news­pa­pers and the DoSome­thing char­ity and Your Lo­cal Club.

There were plenty of ex­am­ples of peo­ple throw­ing them­selves into the spirit of the day. Buy­ing cof­fee for a stranger was a pop­u­lar choice for many.

Bak­ing tasty treats like pas­tries, pies and cakes for strangers and work­mates was an­other way peo­ple showed they cared.

At the Shangri La Ho­tel, celebrity pas­try chef Anna Polyviou from MasterChef and her co-work­ers made racks of ap­ple pies to be dis­trib­uted to the poor.

Polyviou said it was im­por­tant for her to do some­thing prac­ti­cal to spread the mes­sage of lov­ing oth­ers.

“I want (my team) to un­der­stand it is about giv­ing but you don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to give a prod­uct, you can do some­thing nice or com­pli­ment peo­ple, it’s just re­ally im­por­tant,” she said.

At St Johns Park Bowl­ing Club fel­low chefs Sammy and Bella from My Kitchen

Rules also had their aprons on for DoSome­thing Day bak­ing a gi­ant pear tart.

“If a hug was a food, it would taste like a pie,” said Bella.

The food from the two venues was de­liv­ered to the home­less by Oz Har­vest and Fa­ther Chris Ri­ley’s Youth Off The Streets.

Other celebri­ties who backed DoSome­thing Day in­cluded radio stars Fitzy and Wippa and Ten news­reader San­dra Sully who spent the morn­ing vol­un­teer­ing at a Kings Cross women’s refuge.

NewsLo­cal edi­tor in chief Kathy Li­pari said the in­au­gu­ral day had been a fan­tas­tic suc­cess.

“It was fab­u­lous to see the way the na­tion em­braced the idea of cel­e­brat­ing the won­der­ful peo­ple who give up their time to vol­un­teer,” she said.

Club­sNSW act­ing CEO Josh Lan­dis said it show­cased the many ways peo­ple can make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence.

“The valu­able con­tri­bu­tions made by in­di­vid­u­als and lo­cal clubs ... is some­thing we can all be proud of,” he said.

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