The meal that feeds twice

The 2009 StreetSmart Australia ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ campaign kicks off from November 9.  Now in its sixth year, the campaign makes it easy for anyone to get involved and raise vital money for grassroots charities supporting homelessness.

For six weeks leading up to Christmas, diners at restaurants across Australia can support Streetsmart by making a voluntary donation of $2 to their table’s bill to aid StreetSmart.

Highest StreetSmart fundraiser for 2008, Andy Georges said that Il Centro is backing the cause 100 percent.  One of Brisbane’s favourite CBD restaurants, Il Centro was named National and Queensland Fundraiser of the Year 2008, for raising $6,542.00 in last year’s campaign.

“StreetSmart is a unique bridge between the community and small, grassroots agencies that assist people experiencing homelessness.  I encourage people to make the choice to dine out at participating restaurants and contribute to the campaign.  It’s a simple action that really has big impacts for those on the fringes of our community,” he said.

Running from 9 November to 24 December, ‘Dine Out to Help Out” sees 41of Brisbane’s best loved restaurants participating in the initiative including Freestyle Tout, Mecca Bah, e’cco Bistro, Montrachet, Brett’s Wharf, Baguette and Boardwalk Bar + Bistro.

“The beauty of this campaign is that anyone can be a part of it and make a valuable contribution. Why not book a table at a participating restaurant with your group of friends? Or organise your annual work Christmas party at a StreetSmart restaurant? It’s an immensely enjoyable way to help those people who, at this time of year, can find life on the streets tougher than ever”, Mr. Georges continued.

StreetSmart Australia is calling for local diners in Brisbane to take part in the ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ event over the next two months.  Every single dollar collected is then donated directly to support homeless refuges and charities selected based on their need and proximity to participating restaurants, and will help support the 25,000 people in Queensland who go without a bed each night.

See the complete list or donations can be made at any time on the StreetSmart website .

StreetSmart last year generated $260,000 with a grand total of $830,000 since commencing in 2003. Adam Robinson, StreetSmart Australia CEO, says the organisation is aiming to surpass the $1,000,000 mark with this year’s campaign, and attributes the success to the simplicity of the concept:

“The amount generated every year is remarkable, given that the campaign only runs for six weeks. It’s easy for both the diner and the restaurant. We’ve found that diners are proud to be part of the grassroots movement, adding $2 onto a meal they have already enjoyed and helping to feed the homeless on their doorstep”.

With the proceeds of the 2008 initiative, StreetSmart funded 63 grassroots projects that are delivering emergency aid as well as longer term programs helping to move people out of homelessness. 100% of funds raised through participating restaurants go to homeless organisations. All administrative costs to run StreetSmart are covered through sponsorship and volunteer efforts.

Grants support a diverse range of projects and services including food, shelter, and funding for projects which assists disadvantaged people to reconnect with their community and tackle longer term issues.