As the days pass, I hope you are getting into a rhythm with this new way of life. I know that Aussie Heroes is settling into a new way of doing things. I know that many of you don’t read the blog and don’t stay in touch via the Facebook page, so I thought I would try getting the message out this by email. This is all about ADMIN STUFF that will make my job easier and I would really appreciate it if you could please take a moment to read it and help me simplify processes.
Now that I am in Self-Isolation, because I have a compromised immunity, I no longer have a team coming here to help with the regular jobs, postage, packing quilts, recording mail etc. I have to prioritise tasks and some things just won’t get done till the days return when the WPH ladies can come along and work here again. Because of this I really need to work smarter, not harder, and I need to make you aware of some of the things that WON’T be happening for a while, as well as some of the things that you CAN DO to help me.
1. RANDOM BAGS – I can no longer photograph every laundry bag (or quilt tops for that matter) that comes to Aussie Heroes. Please keep sending random bags but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see them on the blog. If you want to take pics of them before you send them to me that would be great. It takes me too long to save all the photos. If you have one or two that you really love, then send individual photos of those ones and then a photo of the rest of them folded in a group, perhaps 3 or 4 across, and ready to go. That would be great.
2. RANDOM BAGS…MORE – Please hold on to them and keep an eye on the blog and the Facebook page. I will announce what to do with them and that will not include sending them direct to me. I need to reduce the number of things that are double-handled and I am putting a process in place with Chaplains around the country. It just takes time in this COVID-19 environment as everyone is busy.
3. WANT TO KNOW IF I’VE RECEIVED YOUR PARCEL? – Please send a stamped and addressed envelope OR a postcard with your parcel. That is about the only way I will be able to keep up with correspondence letting you know that I have received your it.
4. NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR REQUEST? – Please include Recipient’s name and PM keys in your email. PM Keys is the 7 digit number that starts with 8 that every address should have. That is an individual number that every serving member will have and that is how I keep track of requests.
5. AFTER POSTING YOUR QUILT OR LAUNDRY BAG – When you email me to tell me that you have completed a request please quote the following:
Rank, Name and PM keys.
That is how I find the person on my list. The preferences and registration number you used to nominate for the request do not help me. There could be a dozen people with similar requests whereas the rank, name and PM keys will take me directly to your Recipient.
Please don’t send the information as a screen shot or photo with the quilt/bag. This is really important because (in the interest or working smarter not harder) when you tell me something has been posted off, I copy the recipient’s PM keys number, go to my request list and use the PM keys to find the request. I can’t do this if you embed a photo of the details. I have to write down the number and manually type the number into my search function. Takes more time and I run the risk of typos slowing me down. Also, if I go to my records and see that a quilt or bag does not appear to have been sent off, I will copy the PM keys, go back to my emails and do a search on the PM keys to see if you have sent me an email and I have just forgotten to record it. If you have embedded the details in a photo, the email won’t show up and I either have to email you and ask (more time) or spend time searching in other ways, perhaps reading through your old emails. Time consuming and nowhere near as efficient. This is one area where you can really help.
6. WHEN NOMINATING FOR A REQUEST – please quote the entire line from the request list. For example
green and yellow with the RAEME symbol. JM can send the crest M LB 24
Some of the requests are long and might take a bit to type out. If they are really long then please pick a distinctive portion of the request and copy it word for word (sunflower theme with golden retrievers) AS WELL AS including the rest of the info, ie gender, Q or LB and registration number.
Note – If you just tell me you want request number 24 then that gives me no method of checking that I am giving you the request you want. You could accidentally pick the number above or below the request you want (happens all the time) or I might look at the wrong number (that happens too). Instead of getting the request you want, as above, I might give you the one below that says “spiderman and superman” but again, I can’t check that I have given you the right one by cross referencing the request preferences. Trust me, it makes a difference and doing it the right way saves time. On the last two Mondays I have spent 12 hours and 11 hours respectively answering emails so you see, I really need to work smarter and not harder and you can really help me by following procedures. Thank you muchly in advance.
8. IMPORTANT INFORMATION UPDATED WEEKLY– Finally, and perhaps most importantly, can you please keep an eye on the blog, the Facebook page (if you follow Facebook) and also, if you receive the request list can you PLEASE actually read the preamble. I only have limited ways of keeping you all up to date with the latest news. I am receiving lots of requests for info that is covered adequately in the blog or in the request list preamble, or even in the info that I send out to every new volunteer. I am talking about things like…
“how do I post the quilt now that we can’t get BX2 boxes?”
“Can I please do request number 27”
“What is the post by date for my request please” and
“I have sent off my latest quilt/laundry bag” with no other info.
On the whole, Aussie Heroes is in really good shape. I have simplified many of the requests to make them more achievable, whilst still keeping them personal with the inclusion of a crest or some simple applique. Hopefully now there is something for everyone who wants to join in and sew for us.
The feedback I am receiving from the troops, both here and overseas, is that the morale boost we provide is having a massive impact. In a world where things are changing rapidly at times and a lot of the things we love doing are now no longer available to us, still being able to request and receive a personalised Aussie Hero Quilt or bag means A LOT. Coming home from deployment and being about to use your quilt whilst you are in quarantine for two weeks in an impersonal hotel room, make a difference. And whilst we are helping the troops with our lovingly created bags and quilts, aren’t we also the lucky ones to be able to do something we love and do it with purpose. Don’t you feel sorry for those who are reliant on hobbies that they cannot do at home, or those who (perish the thought) who don’t have hobbies at all. Losing ourselves in our sewing and doing something positive for someone else is absolutely good for our mental health.
And one last thing… if you want to sew for us but can’t make a whole quilt or a laundry bag get in touch. Send me an email to friendsofAHQ@gmail.com and we will see what you can do that will keep you sewing in a way that works for you.
Most of you won’t be aware of the number of our ADF members who are working alongside the civilian community to assist wherever they can, in a multitude of ways. Just as we did with Operation Bushfire Assist our ADF members are working overtime, literally, to be proactive, professional and resourceful and to aid the Australia people and the Government in whatever way is necessary.
Take care everyone and take heart in the knowledge that we are helping the fight against COVID-19 perhaps more than you know. A quilt or a laundry bag might not seem like a huge contribution but believe me, these things mean more than you could possibly know and the good they do lasts long after they have been received.
Happy stitching everyone and stay well.