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SMARTMEALS – Feeding People Saving Jobs

By April 7, 2020June 19th, 2020News, StreetSmart News

UPDATED 28.04.2020 – 2650 meals for vulnerable people provided

Right now charity meals programs are  shut across the country. With gatherings restricted and older volunteers protecting their health, food security for vulnerable Australians is an emerging challenge. At the same time restaurants and cafes are closing. This is making workers with limited resources, vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness.

Feeding People

On Monday 30th March we fast tracked the launch of a brand new pilot program called “SmartMeals” which is utilising the unused capacity of local cafes & restaurants, devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, to provide meals for their local overstretched homeless and community groups. We are leveraging our 17 year partnership with the hospitality industry to provide much needed food services to frontline homelessness organisations and groups. This is providing a practical and local solution to support as many people as possible through this pandemic.

StreetSmart has been working around the clock to get this program up and running quickly to help solve the food security problem that is emerging for homeless and disadvantaged people, with the dual benefit of being able to support hospitality businesses and workers. After the first two weeks we have received positive feedback…

“These are rapidly changing times and there is great uncertainty for community services, and even more for the people we support.  In the St Kilda area there have been many very significant changes in the emergency food landscape, with many services, long relied-upon, temporarily closing their doors or greatly curtailing their services.  It’s been great to be able to offer our clients a nourishing sandwich. It’s been greatly appreciated by our vulnerable clients and has doubtless had a positive impact on their mental and physical health.” Patrick Lawrence, First Step Program

“SmartMeals enables people to receive a free meal and that is critical at this time. Linking a café with capacity with Uniting Prahran through Streetsmart is a WIN WIN WIN for all involved – but more so for our Customers.” Mike Scott, Uniting Prahran

“These meals have been a vital food source for vulnerable community members who do not have the ability to feed themselves. Receiving meals from a local restaurant has also sent an important message to our community members – that their local neighbourhood restaurant is helping look out for them. This helps foster a sense of inclusion and worth. The SmartMeals project has also helped reduce our regular food costs, allowing us to direct our limited resources into other areas of need, which has also had a positive impact on clients.” St Mary’s House of Welcome.

Meals being prepared at Earl Canteen, Melbourne.

Saving Jobs

For 17 years StreetSmart’s community impact has been built on the generosity of the people in hospitality. Together, DineSmart and CafeSmart have been supported by over 3,000 hospitality businesses. They have been generous, supportive and have become our friends. Now is a very challenging time for us all and the hospitality sector has been decimated. So many of our friends and supporters have closed businesses, laid off staff, some are trying to keep their businesses alive. They have the skills and capacity to help and we know there is a need for vulnerable people to be supported.

We are now in Week 3 and our pilot program has proven that SmartMeals can keep people employed, and a number of them are vulnerable to poverty and homelessness themselves.

“The program has had a positive impact paying for two chefs for the week who are both Temporary Visa Holders and will not fall under the current JobKeeper or JobSeeker programs. It also helps the charity feed their clients with less pressure on their resources. The St Mary’s chef and myself have formed a bond. He feels he has someone to help him prepare and supply enough food with variety for the centres clients.” Sean Kierce, Ladro

“Jobs have definitely been secured with this program, across the team from prep, to making each morning and then the delivery team. It’s given us the confidence to have an extra person there all week.” Jackie Middleton Earl Canteen


We need your Support

This fast-tracked pilot program has provided 2650 meals for vulnerable people and retained jobs in the hospitality industry. A WIN WIN. The pilot has been funded by a StreetSmart grant from funds raised by restaurants and their customers through DineSmart.  With people donating online through our website and a few philanthropic partners we have been able to expand the program to include 8 charity recipients working alongside 7 cafes and restaurants.

To help us roll out Phase 3, based on the pilot findings, we need public and philanthropic support along with sponsorships.  To make a donation head over to our donate page here or for more details contact Adam on 0488 336419.