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The real life impact of 50,000 meals delivered to vulnerable Australians

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“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


This week our SmartMeals program has delivered it’s 50,000th meal to someone either at risk or experiencing homelessness. A variety of café and restaurant cooked meals are being delivered to a wide range of people in need, including those who were previously sleeping rough on the streets, now housed in vacant hotels.

The initiative, initially intended as a month-long emergency response to the impact of COVID-19, has now grown to cooking and distributing over 1,000 meals per day, through a network of 50 charity partners (in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA). Over $425,000 of funding has purchased meals from 40 cafes, restaurants and food based social enterprises, keeping people employed.

We couldn’t have done this without our generous supporters. Individuals, corporates and philanthropic foundations have all stepped up to build this program from the ground up over the past 5 months. A huge thank you for every $10 donation. To mark this milestone we wanted to share some of the feedback from participants, charities, restaurants/cafes and people, who have received the meals…

One great example is our partnership with Society Melbourne, a small hospitality based social enterprise based in Melbourne who run cafes to train young, unemployed, homeless youth, and Hope Street Youth and Family Services, who have a number of youth refuges across Melbourne…

“SmartMeals has been a lifesaver for home.one cafe during the lockdown period in Melbourne. It has not only allowed us to keep our cafe running, staff working and driving purpose into the everyday of what we do, but it has also allowed us to extend our community impact into emergency relief whilst building on our connections with local housing service providers. As a social enterprise, we exist to serve the community and have been able to thrive, rather than to just survive throughout this period with the support of SmartMeals.”  Tenille Gilbert, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Society Melbourne

“I just spoke with my worker, Matt, who delivers the meals to our young people, and he says that this program is ‘worth its weight in gold’. We know that our clients are getting healthy food twice a week, as well as providing an opportunity to check in on their wellbeing throughout the deliveries, as well as get to help out Shamus and the café in this difficult time.” Sue Scott, Hope Street Youth and Family Services

SmartMeals are supporting people in a wide variety of vulnerable circumstances. Many people have been recently accommodated in hotels without cooking facilities, some are still living rough and can only be reached through outreach and some are accessing drop-in services. Meals are also supporting people in boarding houses with poor facilities, and some are reaching recently unemployed struggling to pay rent and expenses and accessing support for the first time in their lives. What we do know is each meal is appreciated…

“When you’re down and out like this, it’s tough. This food has been keeping me afloat during this particularly rough patch in my life.” 

“The meals are so good. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to rely on them each day.”

 “Thank you so much. This food is a blessing. I don’t know what I would do without it.”

“Those sandwiches are amazing! Without receiving them I would have nothing to eat for lunch. They are fresh and tasty. Thank you so much for providing such a great service”.

Communify QLD

Sam Powderley, Key Support Worker at Communify, describes the direct impact SmartMeals on the people receiving them. 

“Sandra has definitely got her hands full as a single mother of four kids aged 16 and under. The family have, by necessity, been moving from one crisis accommodation to another. The meals have been helping to make life a little more manageable. She gives me the biggest smile when I drop off the meals!”

Restaurants and cafes have also appreciated and benefited from this unique collaboration…

 “This amazing program is helping those in need and enabling us here at Sassafras to keep some of our staff actively employed in some capacity.”  Chris, Sassafras of Paddington

“We can’t even begin to explain how great the impact this opportunity has been for Ladro. It’s saved two of our loyal staff who don’t qualify for government support stay employed and allowed us to keep our doors open.”  Sean Kierce, Ladro

 “The team just love being involved in SmartMeals, making use of our under-utilised kitchen for good! We’re happy to be helping make delicious meals for those who are doing it tough right now.” Nathan Toleman, Liminal

“It is great to be back in the kitchen! Our team feels so proud to be offering fresh and healthy meals to members of our local community who are experiencing difficulty at this time.”  Larissa, Port Phillip Estate

Kinfolk is another social enterprise we are partnering with and their meals are going to a variety of vulnerable people including women fleeing domestic violence, often with young children…

“We’ve got a full van going out today, commandeered by none other than our CEO Jarrod, and I’ve already received countless excited emails of gratitude from various recipients! To date, we’ve dispatched 913 meals, 4kg of homemade baby food and 118 loaves of sourdough, multigrain & olive batards to various community groups, schools, non-profits & individuals. Meals supplied to ‘InTouch’ support households of women & children from multicultural backgrounds who are experiencing or moving on from family violence. The complexity of their challenging circumstances is difficult to encapsulate in one sentence, but suffice to say the meals are greatly needed & appreciated by this community.” Johanna Reilly, Kinfolk

We hope this small snapshot gives our SmartMeals donors and funders insight into the impact of the SmartMeals program and what you are enabling us to do on the ground, right now.  You can also view a short video below.

Thank you from the StreetSmart team and all those people who have received meals.