Dine out and help out

| December 4, 2015

Leading up to the festive season many of us are out celebrating with collegues, friends and loved ones. Adam Robinson from StreetSmart Australia suggests to add just a small donation to our restaurant bill and help those in need.

As celebrations for the festive season gather momentum around the country, we’re calling on restaurant goers to ‘Dine Out Help Out’ at 131 restaurants around the country and chip in a micro donation to help fund grassroots homeless projects. It’s a gentle nudge to us all at a time of year that can get a touch self-indulgent.

Last year over 100,000 tables added a $2 donation onto their bill and contributed to local social impact through our community grants program. These grants may seem small but are vital at a time when funding to homeless and community services has been cut while demand increases.

The good news is that some of the country’s top restaurants are involved as well as suburban and regional favourites. You can check them all out on our google map and venue list here. We also have links to Broadsheet and Zomato where you can read more about these venues.

For many of us out celebrating the end of another year with work colleagues, friends and loved ones, the DineSmart campaign offers us a way to contribute and make a collective difference to those who need it most. This year we aim to surpass the $234,800 raised in 2014 which funded 70 community projects.

…but in the scheme of things it’s not a lot of money, so why are these funds so important? 

Well – we fund the smaller organisations, the ones working on the front line, helping people in crisis, people who are sick, people who are isolated, people who are lost. They help day in, day out. You may not have heard of them, but they’ll be in your community. They’ll probably have limited fundraising capacity, they may not get much government funding, they may be run by volunteers, or they may be a start-up social enterprise, or they may just do outstanding work and need a little help to fund a project.

The truth is that services are stretched, many to breaking point, turning people away. At the same time, Government funding is being cut, so services are being cut, and funding is unpredictable. Our biggest corporations make healthy profits yet our corporate philanthropy lacks leadership and makes an inadequate contribution.   In fact they put more resources into minimising their taxes rather than strengthening our communities.  I’d call that very short sighted but the subject for another blog entirely.  Yet we know through the recent Royal Commissions into Domestic Violence, Child Sex Abuse and our State Child Protection system that all of these lead to people being damaged and needing our support. There is also a chronic lack of affordable housing that no one in Government is willing to tackle and the inequality gap is growing in a country that is one of the most expensive to live. Poverty effects 600,000 Australians.

This ‘thank you’ note from earlier this year sums up the feedback we get from projects we fund through DineSmart…

“Thank you for your recent email and the wonderful news that we have been funded for $5,000. This welcome news was a real high point for this year. It has been a particularly devastating year with the federal government diminishing the Emergency Relief funding across Australia and we have been hard hit in our area. That Street Smart have provided us with funds for our program was a welcome light in an otherwise dark landscape. This will make it possible for us to continue some services that we thought we would have to end. It means that the impact on the most vulnerable in our community has been lessened, and for that we are all very appreciative. I thought I would let you know how much this support has bolstered our spirits, and our services. Thank you!!!”

Jackie Currie, Manager, Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre

So if you are planning a night out why not go DineSmart, if you donate – thank you! We really appreciate your support. You will have helped fund some very important services.

Not Dining Out?

For those of you who won’t be dining out at any of these restaurants between 9 November to 31 December, you can always contribute to the campaign by donating online here. Your funds will be pooled along with the DineSmart proceeds and 100% will go to our community grants program.

Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is Founder and CEO of not-for-profit organisation StreetSmart Australia.