DineSmart 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