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Charities Fundraising homelessness News

Org appeals for more support to feed vulnerable people in winter

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vulnerable people rely on soup kitchens

Vulnerable people across Australia are going hungry because soup kitchens and local charities can’t keep up with the demand. And this is only getting worse as the cooler weather sets in.

That means victims of domestic violence, disadvantaged youth and people with mental illness, can’t rely on where their next meal is coming from.

StreetSmart Australia’s Winter Appeal is taking action against hunger by working with social enterprise cafes to cook nutritious ready-made meals for small, grassroots homeless charities to deliver to their clients this winter.

“Yesterday I was able to use 4 SmartMeals to support a mum who has been unemployed and looking for work this year. She is a carer for her elderly father and her younger sister who experiences mental illness, and also looks after her son. She’s been stuck in a very stressful housing situation, has had financial stress and a history of experiencing domestic violence,” said a case worker receiving meals from Espresso Train.

Social enterprise cafes, which employ marginalised members of the community, were hard hit by COVID through a loss of revenue. These partnerships are helping them rebuild by providing vital funding to train and upskill their staff.

“SmartMeals has double the impact by investing in the future generation of hospitality, to make meals for people who would otherwise go hungry. It is food made by and for vulnerable people,” said Geoff Hills, Chief Operations and Fundraising, StreetSmart Australia.

Diamond Rozakeas, from Common Ground Project, said, “This initiative supports more than just meals for the needy. It provides employment for the women, engages them socially and instils in them a greater sense of self-worth and value in the knowing that they are able to assist others also in need.”

Since March 2020, over 150,000 SmartMeals have been delivered across Australia partnering with over 70 charities. But the program relies on public donations, and without support, will not be able to continue.

That’s why this month StreetSmart Australia is asking people to consider making an End of Financial Year donation, before June 30, to its Winter Appeal and help keep SmartMeals delivering meals and job-training.

StreetSmart Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that raises funds to support and provide grants to grassroots community groups which focus on homelessness in Australia. StreetSmart keeps it local by connecting businesses with their neighbourhood shelters, action groups and projects, so funds raised directly help people in their own community.

If you’d like to make a donation, or find out more information, visit Streetmart Australia’s website.