Dine Out to Help Out

Posted by Josette Dunn on 18th October 2010

StreetSmart Australia and its restaurant partners are calling for Australians to ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ once again this Christmas. In its eighth year, the campaign’s winning formula makes it easy for anyone to get involved and raise vital money for grassroots charities supporting homelessness.

To be held from 8th November to 24 December, ‘Dine Out to Help Out” is run through restaurants by asking people to add a small donation to their bill. The money collected is then donated directly to support homeless refuges and charities selected based on their need and proximity to participating restaurants.

At this time of the year, people living on the streets can find life tougher than ever. StreetSmart grants support a diverse range of projects including food, shelter, and funding for the ‘hard to reach’ projects that have limited resources to fundraise themselves. Critical services and emergency aid is also supported, as well as projects that promote social inclusion, empowerment and sustainable change for people who are homeless.

StreetSmart Ambassador, Sarah Wilson, encourages diners to make the most of Christmas celebrations and support their neighbourhood charities in the process:

“StreetSmart is really very clever – a no brainer. Dine Out… Help Out – no obligation, just an invitation at the end of your meal to give a bit extra,” Sarah says. “Anyone can take part in it and make a valuable contribution. It can be as simple as organizing your annual work Christmas party at a StreetSmart restaurant, or booking a table with a group of friends” Sarah added.

StreetSmart last year generated $351,400 with a grand total of $1,180,000 since commencing in 2003. Adam Robinson, StreetSmart Australia CEO, 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. We’ve found that diners are proud to be part of this grassroots movement, adding $2 or more onto a meal they have already enjoyed and helping to support the homeless on their doorstep”.

With the proceeds of the 2009 initiative, StreetSmart funded 84 grassroots projects with 100% of funds raised through participating restaurants going to homeless organisations. Uniquely, all administrative costs to run StreetSmart are covered through sponsorship and volunteer efforts.

Participating restaurants include the highly regarded Longrain, Otto, Coast, Universal, Sake, Red Spice Road, Mezzo Bar&Grill, Ladro, Cutler & Co, Il Centro Restaurant & Bar, ecco Bistro, Urbane and more. A complete list can be viewed at http://www.streetsmartaustralia.org/findrestaurant. Donations can be made at any time on the StreetSmart website http://www.streetsmartaustralia.org/getinvolved.