Each week, I and my team of elves hide a $20 gift card somewhere in Melbourne, then we tweet the location in a series of (hopefully) frustratingly cryptic clues until someone finds it. We alternate between the CBD and outside, and in doing so we try and provide a little bit of joy with no strings attached. We're not affiliated with anyone, so the cost of the cards and the Public Transport and petrol has all been covered by us.
We choose locations that are accessible 24/7, with no trespassing, no digging, and no climbing. Oh - and never in a tree. That rule came about after we put the gift in a tree then the tree got cut down and chipped. Sometimes we still laugh about it, and sometimes we just grumble.
Until last week, only three people knew about this - my mentor teacher, the real Dot (from whom I got the name for the chief elf) and a friend in the US that I write to, I finally confessed to my husband what I'd been doing one evening each week (hiding the gift).
And why did we start? Because in May, we were getting depressed about the state of the nation (and in particular the treatment of vulnerable people by the current government). In particular, I was getting frustrated at not having enough energy to volunteer at the Refugee Centre in Fitzroy, and not enough money to donate and help them. I heard about the Hidden Cash people in San Francisco, then checked to see who was going in Australia. At the time, there were a couple of cash-droppers here in Melbourne, but I started up anyway.
17 weeks later, we're the only ones still going in Melbourne.
The guys in Brisbane were a huge help, but they've had to stop for a while. We like to think it's our dedication that keeps us going, but it could just be sheer stubbornness.
Funded by Melbourne (October 2014)