If you have been following along with my ramblings, you will already know some of what I am about to share...if you're new here; welcome !!
... a Readers Digest version of the 'why' of Pup & Girl.
I started Pup & Girl one summer, a few years back now, after becoming increasingly frustrated with they way people experiencing homelessness were / are treated; including being ignored by passers-by.
In an effort to challenge the unhelpful, hurtful and inaccurate narratives around homelessness and those who come to experience it I decided to run from Adelaide to Melbourne and use this event as a platform to create little ripples of change.
BUT it was not nearly enough, and here we are: I am STILL talking about the same stuff. AND I am now training for a bigger run from Perth to Adelaide for the same purpose.
WHERE to from HERE...?
It would be disingenuous to say that I feel Pup & Girl are doing their best work right now ...life gets in the way of training and scheduling, shyness gets in the way of shameless promotion, pandemics get in the way of planning and logistics.
And there are definitely times recently when it seems ALL SO FUTILE !!
This sense of futility comes from a number of scattered places.
It comes from seeing new faces / bodies out sleeping rough on cold / wet / windy mornings; huddled and bunched, stoic through the weather and wretched glances of passers-by...evoking a feeling of same, same but different.
It comes from observing others do much less but still raise far more funds for causes that are 'relatable and sanitised'.
It comes from the knowledge that I do not have it in me to sell, sell, sell this great big run, and the spaces and places I thought I would find the most support have left me adrift, underwhelmed with disinterest.
It comes from looking forward - a steady gaze into the next 12 months, heavy with training, sacrifice and grit.
It comes from a newer understanding that many folk will choose the subjective narrative that good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad so as to justify their position, willful indifference and bloody-minded anti-do-gooder stance.
It comes from watching Governments allocate funds to situations less dire - less humanistic.
...but mostly it comes from witnessing more wars, more climate weather events, yet another housing crisis unfold; human tragedy on repeat..
... and I feel very small, with very little influence.
With SOOOOOO many causes and reasons to advocate for change it is hard to maintain focus on just one, especially when the best outcome I can hope for is a ripple or two.
BUT then something will happen - and I feel that fire in my belly - a fierce urge to do ANYTHING that will give the topic of homelessness in Australia a platform...
Like recently- while I was stopped at a red traffic light, and watched, across four lanes of peak hour traffic, a man battle his way along a footpath; lugging all his worldly belongings in a comically small wagon, having to stop and re-balance the load every 10 steps or so...he must have been aware that everyone was watching him, yet he was resolute, unselfconscious, patient, tenacious and dignified.
And when in Melbourne, I asked a young woman sat outside a supermarket collecting coins in her beanie if she would like anything from inside the store and she replied with the simple request of 'a ham and cheese sandwich - if they have one, but any sandwich would be great' - and was then ridiculously pleased when I handed over the wanted item, so small and inexpensive. Her smile in return, a thousand times more valuable.
...and then WHERE?
Over the next few months all the planning for the 2600 kilometer run will start to come together - training will continue to increase - and somewhere along the way - marketing and promotion will kick in. I will need you help, if you're willing - and I will ask, politely....and maybe we can make some ripples together !
The OTHER intent of the GREAT big RUN however, is to raise funds for these FAB FOUR:
Catherine House Inc. - https://catherinehouse.org.au/
Catherine House offers crisis, longer term accommodation and support services for women experiencing homelessness.
Hutt St Centre - https://www.huttstcentre.org.au/
Each year Hutt St Centre serves around 40,000 meals and offers social work and support services to nearly 2,000 people. Showers, laundry facilities, visiting health professionals, an aged city living program for our older clients, recreation activities, education and training, legal aid and assistance with finding housing are all services provided to up to 200 people experiencing homelessness each day.
Orange Sky Australia - https://orangesky.org.au/
Provide a platform for every day Australians to connect through a regular laundry and shower service. The focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or who feel disconnected from the community. Our volunteers are not social workers or experts on homelessness - they are empathetic listeners and great conversationalists.
Fred's Van (St Vinnies) - https://www.vinnies.org.au
Fred’s Van is a food service for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and marginalisation in Adelaide. Fred’s Van has over 500 volunteers and provides approximately 550 meals a week
...if you are keen beans to donate - please donate directly to these amazing organisations in the lead up to WINTER ...if you would like to wait a little longer, Pup & Girl will have some more donation options soon (ish)
...if you are keen beans to help with the great BIG run (eeeek) because something about it resonates with you - sing out, reach out, message, send a telegram, email or text - tell your friends / housemates / colleagues / family... tell the person next to you on the bus / church pew / supermarket queue... share on your socials, spam your acquaintances, stick it on stobie poles ...someone out there has the connections to leverage a stupidly long run by a deaf woman and her adorable dogs and turn it into advocacy and legitimate dialogue to create CHANGE.