Local People Fight to End Homelessness

By | CafeSmart, News, Uncategorised | No Comments

We are one month away from CafeSmart – one of the biggest campaigns in the StreetSmart calendar. Behind the scenes, our Sponsors, Roasting Partners, and participating cafes are gearing up to raise funds for homeless services in their local area. Amid the madness that goes into the campaign, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on why it matters.

Homelessness is complex, and its impacts are far reaching.

Funding to the homelessness sector is a complicated web of federal and state government agreements. Too often the first thing on the chopping block when populist sentiment wins over good governance.

When governments retreat from their obligations to our society’s most vulnerable – the responsibility falls on the already struggling not-for-profit sector to make up the difference.

CafeSmart grants pool locally raised donations and direct them into local services that are working on the front lines. These are services that are serving up hot meals, putting roofs over people’s heads, and proving relief packages to people in need.

Youth Futures’ team

One organisation CafeSmart has continued to support over the years is Youth Futures. One of their programs supports young mums to break the cycle of homelessness, and to keep children from needlessly going into state care. Despite the obvious good for the families they assist and the broader community –  they have no government support.

West Coast cafes – Go Coffee Go, Myrtle Ivy, and Yahava are among those getting behind outcomes for Perth. Their efforts have helped to keep Youth Futures programs running.

Another great program CafeSmart donations have supported is Travellers Aid. They do vital work to assist people in crisis. They provide material aid, like hygiene products and phone cards, as well as hot showers, access to phone and internet and travel vouchers. Despite being an important drop-in service for the growing number of rough sleepers, Travellers Aid lost government funding and now depend on the support of grants.

Travellers Aid

Mr Grazier, Higher Ground, Earl Canteen, Blended Beard and Sensory Lab are among our Melbourne locals who keep Travel Aid’s programs open to the city’s most vulnerable.

When governments fail to step up, local people are stepping in. CafeSmart is a day of good will, and hard work by roasters, cafes owners, staff and local people who want to see things change for the better.

CafeSmart is about keeping a young mum and child together, or offering a hot shower to a person in need. It is about providing a leg-up, rather than sending people packing into the cold.

If you’re a café, and want shake up some positive change for your locals, you can sign up here.

If you want to support CafeSmart and #HelpYourHood, find out more here.

 

 

Share

A Roaster, a Sponsor, a Food Rescue Service, & Thousands of Lives Changed.

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Everyday, the StreetSmart family of community projects, supporting partners, and everyday people are out there making life a little easier for the more than 644,000 people who go hungry every month, and 105,000 of those who do not have a safe place to call home.

John and Steph are Makers Fine Coffee, a budding speciality roaster based in inner East Melbourne. We got to know Steph and John in their previous lives running a café in Kew. They were early supporters CaféSmart, and are now spreading the love as a Roaster Partner.

John and Stef at Maker

I caught Steph for a chat in their sleek premises to talk coffee, community and impact. Like many of our Roasting Partners, the Makers’ passion for coffee goes hand in hand with passion for community. Stretching from growing countries, to the local roastery and the people in the local area.

“The community focus of CaféSmart translates in a visible way to the locality, and it makes complete sense for us as a business to support good work happening in our area.”

And that local impact is very tangible. Just a short hop from their premises is FareShare, a food recue organisation that turns surplus food bound for landfill into nutritious hot meals that are distributed to charities all over Melbourne.

The food rescue model has been something StreetSmart has supported through its early days. With billions of dollars of food waste going into landfill every year, and 2 million people going without – supporting food rescue is a no brainer for us.

Volunteers in the FareShare kitchen

Following the CaféSmart bread crumbs, I popped into meet with FareShare and one of our supporting partners, Jets from La Marzocco, who have their office near by. While Makers donations have found their way down the road, Jets decided to take time out from the office to volunteer.

“Through CaféSmart we became really interested in where the money was going. We discovered that FareShare was just around the corner, and started volunteering on a regular basis. As partners our funds indirectly support FareShare, and I was curious to do more.

I was aware of the shifts in the economy, with movements in manufacturing and job losses, so this was a story that I could connect to. Food security goes beyond the rough sleepers you see on the streets – there is an invisible crisis unfolding and I felt I wanted to be part of the solution. CaféSmart kind of lead me there.”

It is sometimes overwhelming to think of the scale of the homelessness issue, and what is needed to address it. Drastic government reform, mass investment in social housing stock, radical shifts in how we deal with our food waste – the road ahead is long and hard. But while we wage the war, every day small battles are won in our local communities.

A roaster, a sponsor, a food rescue service, and thousands of lives positively changed. Every one of these good news stories matter, and are worth celebrating.

 

If you are coffee roaster, and would like to join our quiet community revolution you can get in touch with us here.

If you’re a café, and want shake up some positive change for your locals, you can sign up here.

 

 

Share

Hunger and Food Security: an Invisible Crisis

By | StreetFunder, StreetSmart News, Uncategorised | No Comments

CareVan works in the Victorian and NSW boarder and serves up company and hot meals to the most vulnerable in the community.

This month is one of the coldest of the year. For those without a safe place to sleep or without the resources to heat their home, it’s the toughest time of year. That is why we are supporting three projects this June that are providing hot meals to people doing it tough.

Food security is an invisible crisis in our community. The dismantling of the social safety net by successive governments, housing stress, stagnant income growth, job insecurity and the cost of living are piling up – and it’s costing people dearly.

1 in 6 Australians report having experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months, and a quarter of these are going hungry regularly. This is the difference between paying rent or a decent meal. It’s the choice between the gas heater and sending the kids to school with a packed lunch. Kathy Hogarthy at the St Mary’s House of Welcome has been running their meal service for years and explains that the “poorest of the poor” is a fast growing group:

“The demand for our services is unprecedented. In the last six months our daily breakfast has doubled and for some of these people that will be their only meal for the day.
It gets really cold and people need a substantive meal to stay healthy and warm. People are having to make the choice between a poor meal from a 7/11 and their medication or other really essential needs.”

 

Nationally more than 644,000 people now receive food relief each month, a third of whom are children. As a wealthy country it should be deeply shocking that we have eroded our once strong social safety net to such an extent that more than half a million people cannot put food on the table every month.

The depth of this problem is indicated by the diversity of those it effects. People with a disability, seniors, aboriginals, migrants and asylum seekers, women escaping domestic violence, people in rural or remote areas, single parents, as well as single men. Kathy has witnessed a shift in the kind of people coming in for the meal service:

“We are seeing a lot more women than in the past, lots of them sleeping in their cars and coming to us for a shower and a meal. Aboriginal people, and even children. The working poor haven’t seen an income rise in years, and can’t cope. There are so many factors, and so many people who just can’t even scrape by anymore.”

 

Happy diners at the CareVan meal service

The CareVan operates a meal service in Albury Wodonga for some of the communities most vulnerable, many of whom are wedged between different state arrangements of housing and social services. They also support a local church by donating meals, which Stacey Franklin says brings in more working class people who cannot cope with the cost of living, but still have a roof over their heads. Popping in to grab a take-away is less confronting for people who don’t have much interaction with charitable services. For these people, bill shock is a big reason they are struggling and need support when a big bill lands in their letter box.

With the sharp increase of people sleeping rough, we are confronted by poverty every time we step outside. The people cluttered around the safety of inner city streets are at the rough end of crisis. Less visible are families who can’t afford rent, let alone put food on the table. For every six people sleeping rough there is another 100 invisible people not able to afford the basics like food and shelter. Every one of these people deserves better, and that includes a nutritious meal and safe place to call home.

While we believe that governments need to step up and take the lead to address this crisis – we know that takes time, and people are struggling right now. You can support CareVan, St Mary’s House of Welcome and the Adelaide Day Centre meals services through our StreetFunder by following the link below.

StreetSmart is all about crowdfunded people power and getting every dollar donated to where it’s need most.

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER THIS WINTER BY DONATING TO OUR STREETFUNDER

 

Share

Coffee People Helping their Hood

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Single-O on CafeSmart campaign day

The StreetSmart concept began in London when one restaurant owner wanted to help a group of young people rough sleeping near by to her premises. She started to collect donations from her customers, so they could buy bedding and warm clothes. Local people helping local people, the idea was as simple as that.

That one small act of kindness in a local London restaurant evolved into StreetSmart – an organisation powered to crowd source donations from for local impact.

In Australia there are over one hundred thousand people without a safe place to call home. Seeing the potential of StreetSmart to make a dent in that statistic, Adam Robinson founded StreetSmart Australia.

A ReaL MeaL – Melbourne mobile soup kitchen

With such a strong café culture, StreetSmart Australia found a natural alliance with the coffee roasting industry and the neighbourhood café. With their support, one of our major initiatives today is  CaféSmart – a single day of fundraising that unites coffee lovers to help end homelessness.

In six short years CaféSmart has raised over six hundred thousand dollars, and supported hundreds of grassroots organisations that are changing lives.

When we take half an hour from our work day to enjoy a cup of coffee, we might not connect a micro business in Rwanda or a women’s shelter in our local area – but boutique coffee roasters are proving that business can do good in lots of unexpected ways.

Dion and Emma of Single-O

Single O are one of the darlings of boutique coffee culture in Sydney, and they are shunning the faceless blends and unfair trading practices to create a premium product with a face, and a story to tell. For Emma and Dion at Single O in Sydney, good coffee and impact go hand in hand –

“It’s in our blueprint to look at the ways we can impact positively. From fair sourcing, to environmental practices – right down to the neighbourhood café – we are constantly exploring ways to have a positive impact.”

When StreetSmart started to branch out from it’s Melbourne base into NSW, Single O where one of our first roasters to jump on board. As their wholesaler customer list has grown, they have mobilised their cafes with them.

With the Single O teams’ support, CaféSmart grants have been able to fund services that support women fleeing domestic violence, and asylum seekers who don’t qualify for the social safety net many of us take for granted.

Five Senses’ story is not too different. Founder Dean Gallagher took a trip to Papua New Guinea that would become a lasting relationship with a growing community there. As the business took off, impacting people positively across the supply chain became part of day-to-day.

Ben Bicknell is a well known face in the coffee community, and is one of the driving forces behind Five Senses’ local impact initiatives.

Ben Bicknell, Five Senses

“From investing in growing communities, through to raising funds for grassroots projects that support the homeless through CaféSmart here in Australia –  it’s interesting to keep thinking about how we can coalesce our impact through the supply chain – from the farm gate to the neighbourhood café.”

Although Five Senses are able to mobilise impressive amounts of donations on the day, Ben is keen to do more.

“CaféSmart happens once a year, and the impact from that one day is huge. I want to explore how we can reach more people, and get others engaged around the issue of homelessness.”

The funds mobilised by Five Senses support local programs like Second Bite, which reclaims food that would go to waste and distributes it to community food programs. Five Senses also donate their surplus to the program, because as Ben says, “everyone deserves the joy that a good cup of coffee brings.”

Single O and Five Senses are just two inspiring examples of businesses doing good, and part of StreetSmarts’ growing network of roasters and cafés getting behind local initiatives to end homelessness.

When we look back to that one restaurant owner who wanted to help people in her neighbourhood – it is incredible to think just how far that simple act of kindness travelled, and how many lives it changed.

 

CaféSmart takes place on August 4 in cafés all across Australia. 

To become a CafeSmart Roaster Partner check info here
You can check out participating cafes, and view funded projects on our map here
We will be publishing this years’ participating locals from mid-June onwards. 

Share

CafeSmart & Collective fund 118 Community Projects

By | CafeSmart, News, StreetSmart News | No Comments

On August 5th, 549 cafes, 42 coffee roasters and sponsors, and thousands of coffee drinkers took part in CafeSmart 2016 and helped raise $160,523 to fund local grassroots homeless projects.  For every coffee sold, cafes donated $1, coffee roasters supplied beans and customers chipped in. An amazing effort and a record year.

100% of these funds have now been combined with substantial funds raised through our new StreetSmart Collective initiative and other one off gifts for a total of $223,000 distributed to support 118 community grants.

Read More

Share