Shop 9, The Strand, Griffith Street, Coolangatta, Queensland
Art and cafe openings are usually the realm of the young and the gorgeous. Slim and blonde, if you smile discreetly, a camera will seek you out and magically channel you into the social pages. Ditto for the rich and powerful! For the rest of us, we know that ‘love was meant for beauty queens’; and so were openings.
“Oh! What is this place again? Why are we here?”
Too often the purpose of an opening is slightly blurry by the end of the night! But if you keep an eye on the constant refilling of your champagne, attend to the free finger food etiquette, discreetly weave your way out of the centre of the crowd avoiding the little cliques of lovelies who know each other, you can meet some truly amazing people, mostly on the edges!
‘Same same but different!’ That’s how I’d describe the opening of the Griffith Street Larder, the latest venture by Nick Pearce and Marc Kinvig of Blackboard, on the Griffith Street end of The Strand in Coolangatta. Lots of local Stone & Wood beer on tap, exciting contemporary food from the Larder chefs, and everyone mixing in a funky new open air eatery which we’ve all sworn to revisit! (Yes, they do have Caramel syringe cronuts on the menu, as well as Crumbed zucchini sliders and Cornmeal-crusted crab!)
But from the beginning we know that the night has a dual purpose as both an eatery opening and a fundraiser for a new charity, Heartfelt Homes. I use the opportunity to ask Founding Director Caroline Meehan about the organisation and how it began. Her story is all too familiar:
Caroline’s husband Andrew was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013. Unable to work and support his family, Andrew was hospitalised for weeks at a time, undergoing surgery, radiation and oncology in Brisbane. Caroline travelled daily three hours each way from their home in Northern NSW to support Andrew, juggling the care and needs of their two young children. Because she was not technically Andrew’s carer, Caroline was not eligible for government support.
Caroline realised that her family was experiencing what many regional families experience when affected by a medical emergency. Without the means to earn an income, medical care may mean family separation, causing extra stress and trauma.
Thinking outside her situation, Caroline decided to start a charity which could provide short term accommodation for families to stay at a motel close to the hospital. Now a recognised charity, Heartfelt Homes has been able to help regional families referred by hospitals, including our own Gold Coast University Hospital. Some family members had even been living in their car or sleeping on the concrete in the hospital carpark. With the help of donors, those families have now been able to make their hospitalised family member their priority, with safe accommodation paid for.
With the help of all involved, the proceeds of Griffith Street Larder’s opening were donated to Heartfelt Homes. Good karma is so much more beautiful than social pics! Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend for openings!
In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us – Flora Edwards, American author