For many restaurants the homelessness crisis is right on their doorstep and affects customers, staff and business. There are however lots of great people in great restaurants doing great thing for lots of different causes – not least StreetSmart which, according to founder Brian Cuddy, "Wants to put itself at the centre, bringing the restaurant industry together to do something together for homelessness".
So during the past Christmas period, like the three previous, the organisation helped those in difficult circumstances by placing an optional small charge onto customers' bills should they wish to help. With participants like FX Buckley, Ukiy, Klw and Yamamori on board – it's not hard to see why this project has been so successful.
StreetSmart's mission is to grow and activate a proactive community within the hospitality industry to help bring about sustainable change for people experiencing homelessness. StreetSmart aims to be a bridge developing fresh, creative and innovative fundraising campaigns to support existing grassroots organisations delivering services, housing, advocacy and solutions to those impacted by homelessness in Ireland today.
Joining StreetSmart to participate in their #DineOutHelpOut campaign is how you can do something to support the organisations on the front line providing services, housing, advocacy and solutions to those impacted by homelessness. The beauty of StreetSmart is it’s a simple, easy way for people to ‘Dine Out and Help Out’. In some of the best restaurants in Dublin and beyond, with the benefit of a table-card which explains the StreetSmart idea, a voluntary €2 donation is added to each bill during November, December and in some cases into January. Feedback from staff and customers has overwhelmingly been positive; most customers are very happy to ‘give a little something back’ after enjoying their meal.
At the end of the campaign all participating restaurants pass on the money raised to StreetSmart and its new registered charity partner SCOOP, with 90% to be shared among Irish homeless charities and 10% to SCOOP aid projects overseas. It’s that simple and that easy.
In the last three years, the StreetSmart community of restaurants has successfully raised over €90,000, all of which has gone on to help homeless charities the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and Stepping Stone. "As we grow so will the organisations we support," chriped Brian.
"The first step is to sign up on our website. We will follow this up with the point of contact to arrange to pop in with all the print material you will need to get the ball rolling," explained Brian.
What StreetSmart is ultimately trying to do, is bring together the restaurant industry to address the biggest social crisis for a generation. The success of this campaign depends on restaurants, managers and staff getting behind it.