Basket Brigade

It’s so important to celebrate the special moments in our lives, as you never know when it might all be over.

But not all days’ worth celebrating are about birthdays and special events. Some days’ worth celebrating are because of what you give, rather than what you get. Take the one day of the year, my family and I get the opportunity to truly give of ourselves, unselfishly.

Every year now for the past 8 years my family has participated in the Brisbane Basket Brigade. This is a day when people from all walks of life come together to give to others.  People from across the city gather together to help wrap gifts, make boxes, put tins of food, cakes, grocery items and the likes on tables, so that others can come along and create hampers for hundreds of families across the city.

What It’s Like

The atmosphere is bright and happy, with Christmas cheer being spread by many.  Everyone chips in where they are most useful. I spend my time during these hours carting wrapped gifts into the main hall and putting them on the relevant tables. That’s because you don’t want to let me loose with scissors and wrapping paper – not my strong point!

My son and husband spend this time making boxes from the thousands that are still flat packed. It’s a big event with volunteers everywhere. The atmosphere is electric. People are giving of their time and energy. Love abounds from everyone as we prepare for the next part of the day.  My favourite part.

So What Happens Next?

In my opinion, this is by far the highlight of the day. After we’ve all joined a conga line and created all the hampers, it’s time to do the deliveries.  These are hot property, as everyone wants to join in on this part.

It’s the part where we get to take the hampers to the families in need. My family and I are usually gifted a trailer by a local company for the day, and we love it, because that means we can take a few more to really contribute.

So, we fill our trailer with usually 15 packages and off we set for the afternoon.  It’s my job to put the addresses in order for flow. Before long we arrive at the first address. 

This Is The Best Part

We know very little about the person who may or may not greet us behind the door. All we know is their first name and how many people and pets are in the household.  We know nothing of their personal situation and to us it doesn’t matter. They will have been nominated by a charity or a school somewhere who knows their situation and knows they could use a lift. That’s what we are there for.

My daughters job is to go and proudly knock on the door. She loves her role.  The rest of us load up with the packages for the household.  Lyndsay knocks, and we wait expectantly and with anticipation. We listen carefully for any response, secretly hoping someone is home.  Then we hear it.

A call out, a voice, a shuffle. Someone is home and they are about to open the door to a massive surprise!

We check the name, and then let them know we have some parcels for them.  The reaction we usually get is pure shock and awe. These people have no idea we’re coming and this makes it even more delicious as their shock and awe is usually quickly replaced by pure joy.

Some cry, some give us huge hugs and some even are a little afraid and suspicious.  For us it doesn’t matter where they are at, or what’s going on for them.  We are there simply to give them love and joy, which we are able to do in bucketloads.

There are usually more than a few tears shed on this day, but they are not tears of pain. It’s delight, joy, love, the beauty and all those things that make you feel so good inside.  This is where it’s truly at. This is what matters in life.

This is our Christmas Day

We only have each other.  My husband’s family lives abroad and I am without extended family of my own.  So, this is our Christmas Day. The day we choose to give to others who are less fortunate than we are, even with our limitations.

The Basket Brigade is an initiative of Tony Robbins. If you wanted to find out how you could contribute then I suggest you get in touch with his foundation. I am sure they will happily point you in the right direction.

This is truly the most magical day of our year. We are truly grateful for this beautiful opportunity and the chance to truly give back.