Daniel Poole is the 21- year-old behind Crêpes for Change, a food truck using its profits to help eliminate youth homelessness.
“It’s only in the last six weeks that we’ve actually started operating,” he says proudly. “We’re already cash-flow positive and self-sustainable.”
The idea came to Poole in high school when he frequented Melbourne cafe Streat – a similar social enterprise that provides jobs for homeless youth. He became friends with the people working there and was surprised to learn about their past.
“I was shocked that [nearly] everyone there used to be homeless – and realised I had this ingrained prejudice and these preconceptions about what homeless people are like. I decided that I really wanted to destroy some of that stigma.”
His plans for the truck – which will soon proudly serve Streat coffee – began a couple of years later. A crowdfunding campaign raised an initial $12,000. Then a few grants from organisations such as the Inner North Community Foundation and the Boroondara Youth Foundation raised $10,000 more. When he decided it was really happening, Poole took a semester off his arts/law degree to work full time and raise even more.
With four paid employees and 20 volunteers, the truck serves its crêpes at markets, university campuses and on the streets. On the menu are the classic sweet and savoury crêpes (Nutella, ham and cheese), as well as the special “creation” crêpes (cinnamon doughnut and strawberry jam).
A hospitality-training course for young people at risk of homelessness will launch later this year. It’s a big part of Poole’s vision for the truck, and helps young people find long-term employment so they can eventually prosper on their own.
“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are over 40,000 homeless young Australians. I just wanted to create a business around something that people look forward to eating and enjoying, that has a strong social element to it as well.”
The truck appears in various locations around Melbourne – you can track it on the website.