Introducing the evolution of SmartMeals – Meals. Training. Jobs.
All meals will now be made by social enterprises, meaning vital job training, readiness and pathways programs for vulnerable people in a difficult jobs market. Read More
“Receiving SmartMeals makes me feel full of love… It might seem like a small act but you’re effectively changing the lives of people.” – Lana
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.
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.
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.”
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