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DineSmart

The Mum Powered Charity That’s Helping Local Families in Need

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Jessica Macpherson, founder and CEO of St Kilda Mums

St Kilda Mums connects new and pre-loved baby goods with families in need, and was founded by a group of mums with the very simple idea that local families can help each other out.

With a little helping hand from funds raised through our DineSmart campaign, this volunteer powered organisation has grown to include Eureka Mums in Ballarat and Geelong Mums. Jessica Macpherson, founder and CEO of St Kilda Mums now oversees an organisation with over 2,500 volunteers. But it started with just a handful of goods she donated to the St Kilda Maternal and Child Health Centre.

“When my son was newborn, I was visiting my maternal health centre very regularly. I started to offer some of the things my son had already outgrown. The nurse asked me to pop these things into the photocopy room, and I went in and saw that there was lots of donations like mine.

The nurses were taking these goods, and doing their best to distribute them. But they had no time to organise it all, which also meant they were struggling to find things when they needed them.

So I volunteered to organise all of the donations, to make it an easy pop in to find what was needed. I felt so good, and the nurses were so grateful, I just wanted to do more – and that was it.”

It was the beginning of a very small community project, that has now grown to service across Victoria and has been 100% lead by local mum’s. “Each of the projects has been set up by mums all working together, helping each other and sharing the load”.

While the core of their work is material aid, Jessica is quick to point out that there’s no such thing as a typical family that needs support, but there are some people that are more vulnerable than others.

“The majority of people we support are migrants and asylum seekers, women who are homeless or escaping family violence. We also help many teenage mums, indigenous families, women with poor mental health, disability or experiencing a crisis. While there’s no ‘perfect time’ to have a baby, some women will be facing this huge life-changing event under really difficult circumstances.”

St Kilda Mums Volunteer, Tammy

Homelessness comes at great cost to an individual’s health, and for a pregnant woman her own health and that of her unborn child are at risk. Untreated chronic disease, risk of infection, malnutrition and exposure to violence are just some of the risks pregnant women face while homeless, with many presenting to maternity wards with nothing but the clothing on their backs.

“Everyday, families who are presenting to the maternity ward with nothing. No accommodation, no idea where the next meal will come from. We know many of these women are in that situation because they are escaping violence, which escalates when they fall pregnant. Absolutely no one should be in that situation, let alone at such a critical time in their life. We are really glad to be able to step in and offer some immediate relief.”

Not everyone who needs help from St Kilda Mums would be immediately recognisable as vulnerable. Life can throw you a curveball at any time, and people are welcoming a child into the world every day amidst some very real, very big challenges.

“I will never forget one family we helped who had very premature twins – born three months early. As you might imagine mum and her babies needed to spend a lot of time in hospital. That was already a massive and unforeseen challenge, but over the course of the pregnancy dad’s health deteriorated and by the time of their birth, he was in palliative care. Whatever plans they had made were out the window, with dad’s illness and then such a premature birth the challenges for that family were huge.”

A new baby will often come at a time when everything seems to be in chaos, but I honestly believe it can be overcome with support, and that’s what we try to do – help in whatever way we can.”

There is an optimism and genuine care that underpins what St Kilda Mums’ does – supporting families when they need it and without judgement.

We believe that ending homelessness starts with local people creating connected communities, and that’s why we’ve been proud to support their work with almost $70k in community grants since 2012.  As Jessica explains…

“DineSmart grants have helped us launch in all three of our locations, and supported a number of our small projects and pilot projects, which have now gone on to become part of our core service. We could not have got these projects off the ground without that initial support.”

 

You can support St Kilda, Geelong and Eureka Mum’s by dining at a participating restaurant in those areas. Just check out our map to find your local.

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DineSmart Grants Fund 58 Projects

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During the four weeks leading into Christmas last year, 114 restaurants across four states joined forces to help their hood. Over the merry season, diners shared meals with family and friends while chipping in a little to their bill to help those in need. With the power of $1 or $2 donations, generous customers helped us raise $194k.

This was our 15th DineSmart campaign and our dedicated band of restaurateurs and their staff drove the event – chatting with customers and advocating for a world without homelessness.

Through our Collective initiative, we were able to beef up the total to $218,450 with matched funding from the Australian Communities Foundation and the Bennelong Foundation.

This was also a milestone for StreetSmart – taking us across the $5million in funds distributed, now to 566 grassroots organisations. In a climate where essential funding is not keeping pace with the dramatic increase in need – we know that every single dollar that took us to $5million has helped to change lives.

Where The Money Went

One of our NSW grant recipients, Lou’s Place

From all this amazing fundraising activity we are able to support 58 community organisations with $218,450 of funding. These organisations are on the front line delivering essential services, in the communities where the restaurants raised the funds. That’s real, local impact powered by microdonations – so thank you!

Here’s the breakdown for each participating State, and links to all grant recipients by state.

State Grant Value Number of Grants
Victoria $163,500 37
New South Wales $42,000 12
Queensland $7,450 4
South Australia $5,500 5
Total $218,450 58

A Word From Grant Recipients

Grant recipient, Two Good

Ask Izzy helps people who are homeless or at risk to find the services they need, right now and nearby. We’ve funded the purchase of mobile power cards for people who are homeless and to help raise awareness.

“That’s fantastic news – last night I met with a group of young people to speak to them about Ask Izzy and they were saying how challenging it is to find places to charge their phones. They really loved the Ask Izzy power cards. Staying in touch with family, friends, and services is vital. It will be so amazing to be able to provide these to more people experiencing homelessness.” Lisa Fletcher

Footscape is a health charity that helps those with debilitating foot pathology. We’ve funded them to deliver the Foot Care Kit project.

“Homeless persons diagnosed with Diabetes can have difficulty prioritising their foot health despite the ongoing risk of complications and amputation. Through financial support provided by StreetSmart Australia Footscape will assemble foot care kits that will permit homeless persons to take care of their feet on a daily basis. Footscape is grateful to StreetSmart Australia for their amazing contribution promoting foot health equity.” Anthony Lewis

Two Good cooks and deliver healthy chef-prepared meals, and for each one sold they provide the same meal to domestic violence refuges and people sleeping rough. They also employ women from refuges in their kitchens. We’ve helped to fund their new kitchen in Melbourne. Here’s a quote from one of the ladies who went through their work ready program – paid 3-month work contract with Two Good.

Thank you so much for all of your support and love to date. I have no words to express my gratitude to you all. You helped me when there was nobody to help. You are the one who has not only made me feel I have the right to dream but also made me believe that it is definitely possible. My good wishes will be always with you and the whole team of Two Good.” Srabanty.

BMiles supports women living with a mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. We’ve funded them to provide more clinical support for domestic violence survivors.

“Thank you so much to your team and all the incredible StreetSmart supporters – we can’t tell you how fabulous this is! Our Case Management team will be delighted to hear this news. We work with women who are impacted by mental ill health, many of whom have experienced trauma and or family and domestic violence, and these much-needed funds will enable women to access clinical support to assist them with their recovery. Please let your supporters know their funds are going directly to those in need and making a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable women in our society.” Kate Timmins

The Fundraising Champions

Adam with some of our amazing Ambassadors, Megan, Sean, Martin, Ben and Nick.

We love and appreciate all our partner restaurants, but there are those that go the extra mile to deliver outstanding results. Here are our 2017 top performers…

Top Fundraisers Champions – Chin Chin, Melbourne – $13,474 raised
Top Fundraisers Runner Up – Cafe Sydney, Sydney – $13,384 raised
Top Fundraisers No.3 – Stalactites, Melbourne – $12,248 raised

Other Notable Mentions

Mamasita, Melbourne
Red Spice Road – McKillop St, Melbourne
Longrain, Sydney
The Apollo, Sydney
Longrain, Melbourne
The Spaghetti House Trattoria, Brisbane
Vaporetto Bar & Eatery, Melbourne

Best New Restaurant Champions – The Spaghetti House Trattoria, Brisbane – $4,477 raised
Best New Restaurant Runners-Up – San Telmo, Melbourne – $4,141 raised
Best New Restaurant No. 3 – Bistro Rex, Sydney – $3,893 raised

‘Beat Your Best’ Champs – Port Phillip Estate, Mornington Peninsula
‘Beat Your Best’ Runners Up – Epocha, Melbourne
‘Beat Your Best’ No.3 – Punch Lane, Melbourne

A massive shout out also to our official sponsors for DineSmart 2017.  Without the financial support of UberEats, Open Table, Cargo Crew and the media support of Broadsheet we just wouldn’t be able to do what we do.  Thank you all!

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Dine Out, Discover, Do Good: A DineSmart Guide to West Melbourne

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One of the things we love about DineSmart is it is a wonderful excuse to explore and fall in love with new restaurants while doing some good.  This year, we have an exciting bunch of venues in Melbourne’s inner west  – and the ultimate guide dining out while supporting local projects that tackle homelessness.

The Bad Love Club is a new kid on the block, and wife and husband team Sarah Ryan and Damien Shaw decided to open in Footscray where Damien grew up. “We have lots of regulars, but we’d also like to see Footscray become somewhere people come to eat and drink. There are lots of great spots – and we all support each other.” The Bad Love Club is your go-to for early morning and after dinner fixes. By morning they serve up Sensory Lab coffee, jaffles and bagels, and by night they do “boozy bakery” treats that pair house baked goods with delicious dessert cocktails.

For a fresh produce inspired lunch head over to Small Graces, a classy but cosy spot opposite the old Little Saigon Market. Owner’s, Diego Portilla and Rebecca Howell are committed to using local, ethically sourced ingredients and produce and are bringing their passion for local impact to DineSmart. “We were looking for ways that we could support community initiatives, and then we found DineSmart.” Vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free will find a variety of options as well as well rounded dishes for the carnivorous.

For some relaxed dining and drinks, head down the road to The Creators Lounge, offering beer, bands, a barbershop and an American diner-inspired menu. The spacious venue offers a relaxed atmosphere to try local brews, and indulge in some loaded fries, burgers, and classic American sandwiches. If you’re feeling the 5 o’clock shadow, pop into the barbers for a quick shave!

La Tortilleria was one of the first restaurants to bring authentic Mexican to Melbourne, and are joining DineSmart for the first time this year. They have already proven themselves to be fundraising heavyweights – recently raising over $20k to support Mexican Earthquake victims. La Tortilleria specialises in in-house real tortillas, and no-frills street inspired Mexican. Enjoy tacos with a chilled sangria in the colourful outdoor dining area.

StreetSmart Supported Projects in the West: Flat Out, Melbourne City Mission, Footscray Community Legal Centre, Second Bite, Multicultural Sudanese Centre, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. We also support domestic violence shelters and indigenous women’s groups.

Where to Go: Bad Love Club, Small Graces, The Creators Lounge, La Tortilleria

How to get there by Public Transport: Sunbury, Werribee and Williamstown for Footscray, and Upfield or 57 tram to Kensington.

Looking for something a little closer to home? Check out the full listing of participating restaurants over here.

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Dine Out and Help Someone Sleeping Out this Festive Season

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DineSmart is our longest running campaign, we are more determined than ever to raise much-needed funds for local homelessness services. The backdrop to this year’s campaign is a rising homelessness crisis, and a critical funding shortage in the homelessness sector. 

DineSmart runs in close partnership with some of Australia’s best restaurants, beautiful regional estates, and tiny little eateries that know every customer by name. What they share in common, is a love for their local area.

Restaurants and cafes are part of their local community. The regulars, the passers-by, nine-to-fivers, and those experiencing homelessness all come into contact with local eateries. As the homelessness crisis has seen a rise in people who are sleeping rough, many of those affected seek shelter around busy restaurant hubs.

“We’re based in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, and we have seen a real rise in the number of people sleeping rough right on our doorstep. It is easy to feel powerless, but our work with StreetSmart is such an important and tangible way to make a difference.” – DineSmart Ambassador, Nick Peters of Mamasita and Hotel Jesus

 

Nick Peters, Mamasita and Hotel Jesus

 

And the funds DineSmart venues raise really do make a difference.

Andrew Grinter owns Pizza D’oh in Blairgowrie. Since 2007 Andrew, his staff and generous customers have raised over $35,000. Every dollar has helped to fund vital local projects including the Southern Peninsula Community Centre’s Emergency Relief Fund.

The Emergency Relief Fund has helped people like Susan and her three kids who were found to be sleeping in their car after escaping family violence. With the support of funds raised by Pizza D’oh, Susan’s and her family were supported into housing, and the kids settled into a new school.

Funding for emergency relief has been slashed from the federal budget over successive years, which has left services unable to support people when they need it. While governments are busy dismantling the social safety net, people like Susan and her family too easily fall through the gaps. The fundraising efforts of DineSmart restaurants and customers provides a lifeline to services who are struggling to support people.

“We have been taking part in DineSmart since 2006. We think it is important for business to give back to the community – so raising funds to support local services that are out there doing the hard work was a simple decision for us. It is such a simple way to effect meaningful change in people’s lives. ” DineSmart Ambassador, Sam Christie of Longrain.

 

DineSmart will run at participating restaurants for the 15th year between 24th Nov – 24th Dec. If you would like your restaurant to be involved click here, or drop Sharna a line here. Diners contribute by choosing a DineSmart restaurant and leaving their donation on their bill.

 

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StreetSmart Community Grants fund 78 Projects

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WIPAN 2016The smiles of the WIPAN team show just what it means to receive a StreetSmart grant.
StreetSmart exists to help fund grassroots homeless services, providing vital funds to the front line of the fight against homelessness. So, it’s a great feeling when we get to distribute the funds we have raised with your support – this is what all the hard work is about – real impact on the ground. With Government funding in many areas being cut, especially in the emergency aid budget, these small grants become vital to the projects we fund.
Last week emails went out to 78 projects, across five States, all of which will be funded from the proceeds of DineSmart 2015 and our online fundraising.
Here is what some of the recipients said on hearing they would receive a small StreetSmart community grant…
Read More

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DineSmart diners chip in $2’s to raise $264,096

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160200_SSA_2015 Dinesmart results - Nav squares - FINALIn the mad rush that seems to characterise the build up to Christmas, 110 leading restaurants across five States went that little bit further and supported the annual DineSmart event. Now in its 13th year, restaurants ask their diners to chip in an extra $2 onto their bill to support smaller homeless services in the communities where the restaurants operate.
From 9th Nov to 31st Dec diners generously chipped in a massive $264,096 (up 12% on the 2014 tally). Every cent of the proceeds raised will now go to fund grassroots homeless services. Restaurants and their customers have now helped StreetSmart raise over $3.85 million funding over 450 community organisations. A good many of the participating restaurants increased their donation collection year on year – an awesome achievement.

Our 2016 DineSmart Top 15 Fundraisers… Read More

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DineSmart Is About Local Community

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20151205_DineSmart_0097DineSmart is all about dining out and chipping in.  It brings together committed restaurant crews and committed diners, working together to help fund some of our smaller, local homeless services.  Diners donating $2 per bill have helped StreetSmart raise $3.6 million to support 1147 projects Australia wide.

Last week I met up with Chin Chin Executive Chef Ben Cooper and Caroline and James from Youth Projects in Melbourne.  Last year Chin Chin were our top national fundraiser and some of those funds raised went to support the crucial work of the team at Youth Projects in Hosier Lane.  They are probably just 500 metres apart.  They operate in the same neighbourhood.  It’s a great example of how StreetSmart not only raises vital funds, but also helps connect communities and raises the profile of smaller services and the work they do….often unnoticed.  This is what Caroline wrote when reporting back on last years grant….

“Youth Projects Ltd. were the successful grant recipients of a $5000 grant to supply 20 WINTER SURVIVAL KITS for clients who attend the Living Room Primary Care Clinic in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

The kits contain essential items that people experiencing homelessness felt they would need to survive the harsh winter temperatures and conditions. The kits contained a swag, thermal beanie, scarf, socks, gloves, undergarments and sleeping bag. Research showed that these items were considered by clients to be the most important in staying warm during the night in winter.

This winter has been extremely cold with temperatures frequently reaching zero so the kits were distributed within a matter of weeks of us receiving them.  You could say they were a life saver!

Obviously no one wants to see people without a roof over their heads, sleeping rough on the streets.  It’s dangerous and harsh, but currently there are few housing options for people in crisis.  These kits are a practical emergency response, bringing some comfort for those with no other alternative.   

Jack and Alison were a couple who presented to the Living Room Clinic within the first week of us receiving the kits. They were newly homeless due to being harassed and threatened, and presented in a distressed state with no warm clothes, bedding, food or toiletries. After a brief assessment of their situation it was established that Jack and Alison were the perfect people for a winter survival kit. They left with a kit each and were comforted by the fact that they were going to be able to stay warm and protected from the winter weather. We were able to help the couple over a number of weeks, eventually helping them return to their housing once the perpetrator had been removed and the situation had been resolved.

A huge thanks to all the restaurants, their staff and customers who make these community grants possible.  You are impacting many people’s lives in a very positive way.”

So, as we enter the final weeks of 2015 DineSmart campaign I wanted to thank everyone involved. That’s all the restaurateurs who gave the nod, the front of house managers and staff who run the campaign in venue and all the donors who chip in their $2’s.  Last year over 100,000 tables did just that, and helped people like Jack and Alison who, in their time of crisis, turn to the small organisations we fund and find help from people like Caroline and James.

You can DineSmart until the 31st December at participating restaurants.  Check the map here:

If you’re not dining out but support our work in the community you can donate here

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