Last week, the division between chai latte drinkers and long-black devotees was put aside as coffee lovers of all flavours came together to get their caffeine fix and do their bit to help services supporting homeless people.
On Friday, 6 August, Yass social enterprise cafe Trader & Co donated $1 from every cup of coffee sold to charity StreetSmart Australia.
The national charity provides support to local projects helping the homeless, and runs an annual initiative connecting local cafes and coffee drinkers in a bid to raise as many funds as possible to support the neighbourhood’s most vulnerable people.
Now in its 12th year, the CafeSmart initiative has raised a whopping $1.5 million, which has been distributed across 1000 local projects and charities delivering frontline services to support homeless people – many of which are not publicly funded.
These services range from providing hot meals, putting roofs over people’s heads, and working hard towards long-term solutions to homelessness.
StreetSmart Australia CEO Geoff Hills explained that Australia’s homeless problem has reached a crisis point due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, many Australians have had to seek help from charities for the first time in their lives.
In response to the unprecedented demand, organisations have been overwhelmed as they attempt to provide a safety net for people who have become vulnerable, particularly those who are ineligible for income support.
Geoff explains that CafeSmart is a great way for individuals to help fund smaller homeless services which operate on the frontline.
He encourages everyone to donate online if they couldn’t make it to Trader & Co for a cuppa on the day.
According to Trader & Co co-founder Daniel Neuhaus, every dollar raised has gone straight to people who need it most, and the cafe team is proud to have been involved in the initiative.
“CafeSmart funds help support medical outreach clinics and provide healthcare to vulnerable individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty across Australia,” says Geoff.
StreetSmart was founded in 2003 by Melbourne-based Adam Robinson who saw firsthand the barriers to funding that grassroots organisations face.
The aim of founding StreetSmart was to simultaneously break down inaccurate prejudices about homelessness, raise vital funds for important small, local organisations, and strengthen them through collaboration and connection to their community.
Once funds have been raised, they are then distributed through community grants which are funnelled to projects as close to where the funds have been raised as possible.
To view an interactive map with all participating cafes, or to donate the cost of a coffee online, visit StreetSmart Australia.