During 2020 everything changed, most fundraising events were heavily impacted or cancelled. The 10th running of our annual CafeSmart event was one of these events. At first, we thought it would be cancelled outright as the hospitality industry was shut down. However, our sponsors, roasters and café community rallied and insisted CafeSmart go ahead to help continue our work to support people experiencing homelessness, especially during the challenges of 2020.
We postponed CafeSmart from our usual August dates and held the 10th CafeSmart during the week 12-18th October 2020. Even though Melbourne was only just emerging from lockdown we partnered up with 24 top coffee roasters who rallied behind the event and started recruiting their wholesale cafes. Top roasters included the awesome teams at Single O, Five Senses, Allpress, Industry Beans, Padre, Yahava, St Ali and Axil – all long-term partners. With this support and that from Vitasoy, La Marzocco and Broadsheet, 291 cafes, across all states and territories joined up to help us fundraise. We thought this was an incredible commitment given the shocking impact of COVID on many of our partner businesses. Top fundraising cafes included Kwik Koffee Busselton (WA), Monkey Bean (Vic), The Bread Social (NSW) and Stand By Me (ACT).
Generous café customers donated online and in cafes across the country and helped us raise over $80,000. We then fast-tracked community grants prior to Christmas to help people as fast as we could, into the communities where funds were raised. In all 87 Community Grants were made on the 16th December.
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All our grant recipient organisations agreed that it was a huge effort by the coffee community to make sure CafeSmart 2020 was a success, and thanked all participants and generous donors.
Here’s what grant recipients said about the support…
“Thanks so much for this support. It’s very timely as we need to purchase tents for the up-coming tourist season when there is little to no crisis accommodation vacant. The squeeze on resources is quite normal in our tourist area but compounded this year due to last year’s bush fires. We have experienced a major increase in people seeking assistance from our service this year and expect this trend to continue. It’s been a tough year with more rough times to come for the people we serve I fear.”
– Kylie Furnell, SEWACS
“Thanks to your donation of $500 we have been able to provide 10 children with Back to School supplies. Each family has fled domestic family violence and in one case, the children did not even have time to take their school bags, so had nothing. As we know, returning to school can be a very expensive time for families and no parent likes to see their child return to school without the basic necessities. I spoke to one Mum yesterday as she picked up 2 bags + a printer, who was overwhelmed by the generosity and stated that we couldn’t imagine how much it will mean to her that her kids can return to school ‘just like all the other kids’”.
– Rowena Stulajter, The Northern Centre
“Connecting Home explores solutions with young people to maintain their accommodation, access transitional and medium-term and long-term housing in the public and private rental markets. This vital funding will also provide mobile phones for our young people who cannot afford them, so that they can stay in touch with their networks, help maximise their safety, job and housing opportunities as well as being able to access govt and other support as required. Being contactable is vital for our young people and provides much needed self-esteem.
– David Boutkan, Family Centre Australia Limited
“This grant will go towards our life changing ‘Driving towards Freedom’ program where we assist women gain or re-gain their drivers licence. The women we assist may have been homeless (from domestic violence or other reasons), been on welfare payments or pensions & been unable to afford to pay for lessons, pay for the test or even the fees to renew their licences. We see a number of women that have been denied the right to drive while living in a controlled relationship & if they eventually become homeless, often drive un-licenced as a necessity.”
– Wendy Pinch, Nova for Women
“Women exiting custody are often homeless and have limited support including financial capacity. We know first-hand the difference that providing women and girls a telephone or opal card can make to their lives. So this grant will allow us to provide much needed items to enable women and girls to remain connected with mentors and remain safe in the community.”
– Gloria Larman, Women’s Justice Network
“Thanks for your support this year. Every dollar helps us get healthcare to those living on the streets doing it tough. The funds will be utilised to help support our medical outreach clinics. We provide healthcare to vulnerable individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty across Australia. We are able to use the funds to purchase medical supplies and equipment. Just brilliant support. Thank you!”
– Sonia Goodwin, Sunny Street
“When families enter our Crisis Accommodation Centre, they have very limited funds. The project is primarily targeted at Women and Children who have experienced domestic and family violence and have sort safe shelter with EDON Place. This StreetSmart grant will assist families obtain much needed basic necessities i.e. food, personal hygiene products, fuel and clothing etc.”
– Lyne Booth, EDON Place Domestic and Family Violence Centre Inc.
“Being homeless does not allow young people to accumulate household goods. The StreetSmart funds will be used to purchase essential household items enabling our young people to function in their homes and not be further disadvantaged by acquiring a debt. 10 young people will be supported into accommodation and Support Practitioners will assist the young people by taking them shopping at Kmart to purchase these items.”
– Alison Cole, Youth Housing Project Association Inc
“This year has been extremely hard for a lot of people and has been challenging for us as a service and the people we work with. We have expanded our services by delivering outreach to homeless people sleeping rough on the Redcliffe Peninsula. Among them are vulnerable youth, young parents and single mums, post-release prisoners, displaced older women, and victims of family violence. These funds will help us end the year on a better note. Clients will be receiving gifts under the tree and food parcels thanks to StreetSmart.”
– Diana Franchina, Chameleon Regional Community Housing Accommodation and Welfare Association Inc
“Tassie Mums provides essential baby and children’s items to social service organisations across Tasmania that work with vulnerable and at-risk children. Our clothing bundles can contain up to 100 items and will cover a child for a full year’s growth. Funding from StreetSmart allows us to include new everyday essentials such as underwear, socks and singlets. While Tassie Mums has no direct contact with recipients, we do hear some beautiful feedback from case workers. Young children dancing around in excitement at receiving new socks, or a little girl happy to have a toy to cuddle and call her own and of course the relief of parents.”
– Clair Harris, Tassie Mums
“As Victoria’s Home for Homeless scheme begins to wind back, we are seeing an increase in the number of clients once again destabilised, anxious and faced with limited choices. This has coincided with First Step increasing the number of clients it sees face to face (we had transitioned to mostly phone and video consultations), so are once again seeing the immediate need for basic essentials and food. StreetSmart funds will purchase $50 food vouchers for our clients over the Christmas break.”
– Nelly Katsnelson, First Step
“There are babies and children in desperate need in Victoria. 1 in 5 children in regional areas are living in poverty. Tragically many of them suffer because their parents struggle without the breastfeeding equipment, formula milk or baby food they need. The ability to nourish babies and children with milk and food that keeps them happy and healthy is a fundamental human right. StreetSmart funding will go to delivering our core services making sure babies and children get the support they need.”
– Diana Khanom, Eureka Mums
“This grant will support our Homeless Shower program providing a basic hygiene service twice a week at the community cabin with some value added extras. Funds will be spent on toiletries used at the showers and hygiene care packages to take away, ingredients for “toasties” at the service, internet connection so that essential online forms can be filled with assistance from volunteers and socks, undies and first aid materials.”
– Cherie Bromley, Byron Bay Community Centre
CafeSmart 2020 was all about community. We tried some new ideas and thank everyone who donated online and in store or made the special effort to visit a café and buy a few brews. We love our coffee community and the commitment our partners have to helping people experiencing homelessness.
We appreciate the support we receive from the coffee industry to help make an even greater impact.
“CafeSmart raises the issue of homelessness and drives real awareness and action towards fighting it. The initiative allows everyone to play a role and we’re proud to play a small role in a big movement.” – Pip Varney, Brand Manager, Vitasoy.
“We highly value playing a small part in joining our wonderful industry partners in supporting the necessary work that StreetSmart undertake. The efforts and results in 2020, despite the pandemic, were incredible.” – Barry Moore, General Manager, La Marzocco.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped CafeSmart 2020 make a difference in local communities across the country. We look forward to start planning for CafeSmart 2021 in August!