Generous gesture gives homeless man hope
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.