On Friday August 7 StreetSmart is once again holding its refreshingly simple charity initiative, CafeSmart, which sees cafes and customers join together to help raise funds for people living on the streets.
The concept is remarkably straightforward: participating cafes across the country donate $1 for every coffee sold. The money is then channeled to smaller, grassroots organisations that provide critical services for people in their local community who are struggling to find secure housing.
When CafeSmart was launched in 2011 the event raised $40,000 for its chosen charity organisations. In the past three years the event has grown significantly, with 415 cafes participating last year, raising $120,000 that was donated to 91 community projects.
“It’s been a very steady growth and I think one of the reasons it’s become so successful is because of its simplicity,” says StreetSmart director Adam Robinson. “The day gives cafe customers an opportunity to help people just by doing what they would usually do: drink coffee.”
Despite the initiative’s achievements, Robinson has set the bar even higher this year, hoping to have 500 cafes participate in the event, with a goal of raising $175,000.
“It really is a day that brings people together and unites the community around one serious issue,” he says. “The more participating cafes there are, the easier it is for customers to make a small difference to someone’s life and know their money is going to a good cause.”
CafeSmart has a strong focus on smaller charity organisations that cover areas including youth services, domestic violence and drop-in centres, but often struggle with lack of resources and access to funding. The donations raised from the event allow these charities to continue running programs that assist those struggling within the local community.
“We support a wide variety of organisations responding to homelessness,” Robinson says. “There’s so many different types of organisations helping out communities and we want to give people an opportunity to help. Even though it’s just one day, everyone can make a difference.”
Friday August 7 is CafeSmart Day. To find participating cafes near you, register your cafe or donate, go to streetsmartaustralia.org/cafesmart.