A recent study reveals  that women over 55 years are increasingly at risk of becoming homeless in Australia.* The need for hygiene items is high. All of our branches are running short of plastic roll-on deodorants.  Rosies has been calling the community to come to the rescue.

Many heard our calls. We received support from young heroes such as Jaylan in Toowoomba and the Magnificent Year 7 in Cairns. Pupils and their teachers made up over 70 hygiene packs to support their local Rosies branch. Meanwhile, St Mary’s Catholic College Senior Students planned and collected many cuppa noodles and blankets for our friends on the street in Far North Queensland.

On the Gold Coast, our friends from Bikers Making a Difference came to support the branch by donating more toiletry items and blankets. Despite all those fabulous efforts we are struggling to meet the demand and are still in much need of more hygiene items.

*Women over 55 years are now the fastest growing homeless people in Australia, The Financial Review, August 20 2018

Leonie from St Andrew’s Hospital Ipswich organised a blanket drive for her local Rosies branch named after ‘Shoeshine Brian’, a homeless person she met and sat with in Sydney a couple of years ago.  Brian refused to beg, instead he would polish shoes and share stories with his customers. Leonie sat with Brian for a while. He touched  her soul and inspired her to write the poem below, in his memory. Brian passed away last year.

The blanket drive named after Brian was a huge success and brought many donations to our friends on the street in Ipswich. Thank you Leonie and the community at St Andrew’s Ipswich Hospital.

~ Brian ~ 31/05/15

Hey, I’m Brian…do you see me?
I’ll shine your shoes for you,
I’ll tell a story too…
Can you fling me a few cents to make my day?

Hey, I’m Brian…please notice me.
I’ll make it easy for you,
I don’t have to talk to you…
Will you help me so that I can make my way?

Hey, I’m Brian…I was a child once.
Nobody wanted my brothers or myself.
We were kind of put out on the shelf…
How come we didn’t even get a say?

Hey, I’m Brian…I’m down here.
Sitting cold here on the floor

Brian Rudd (1958-2017)

while you just shop for more…
Will you go back to your house upon the bay?

Hey, I’m Brian…I know I have a soul.
If you look, it’s with distaste
as though I’m some kind of waste…
If you sit with me I won’t make you stay.

Hey, I’m Brian…

© Leonie Cavenagh