if i recommend getting involved in one thing…

Posted on November 26th, 2009

…this year, it’s this clever little charity…streetsmart.org.

donate $2 with streetsmart

donate $2 with streetsmart

What do Stephen Fry and I have in common? I wish it was a lot more. For now it’s the fact we both support Streetsmartaustralia.org, a set-up that helps you help homeless people in your community…while eating out.

It works like this:

  1. check out streetsmartaustralia.org to see restaurants taking part. Here’s a map with clicky bits…here! Hundreds are. Most of the big ones on my hit-list are. In Sydney: Longrain, Bills, etc In Melbourne: Cutler and Co….
  2. when the bill comes you’ll be invited to kick in an extra $2
  3. your two bucks will then be ferried off to a homeless project nearby. For details, see this
  4. you will feel better about yourself and the collective. This is how life works.

This is also how life works: when we actively support anyone doing good stuff, good stuff spreads. My approach has always been that the biggest difference is made from the small things we do as individuals. I tire of people saying there’s no point recycling their tin cans when China burns oil for sport. Change happens from the micro outwards. We need to be supporting homeless people, yes. But we also need to be supporting anyone who rears their head and does something good and worthwhile and small.


Why I think streetsmart hits the nail on the head:

  1. it helps directly – the money goes straight to projects already up and happening
  2. it helps locally – big changes happen when people care about what’s happening nearby. They’re part of it. Their energy moves directly and easily to the cause. Rolling stones gather nearby moss.
  3. it makes it easy for us to help. Knowing how to help is difficult.
  4. it makes it easy for us to feel better about ourselves and the collective.

Spend a small moment planning your next dining out experience.  It’s a simple choice. But a sweet one.

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  • Hi Sarah

    great blog post

    i be helping out



  • Joseph

    Hi Sarah,

    Felt obliged to comment on this…

    Working to solve the problems of homelessness is certainly a worthwhile cause and StreetSmart seems to be a savvy charity that is doing its best to raise money for the projects it supports. However, I feel obliged to challenge the idea that we should feel good about ourselves for doing so little.

    The reason why StreetSmart is undoubtedly so successful is because it appeals to the fact that we are unwilling to change ourselves to bring about change in the world. It seems strange to me, and a little sad, that we are being encouraged to feel good about ourselves without making any sacrifices to our own lifestyle. Isn’t it a bit rich to be sat in a swanky restaurant with a full belly, patting ourselves on the back for all we’re doing to help the homeless?

    This charity and the many others like it certainly deserve our support – after all, we’re not about to go out and actually do anything to help the homeless directly ourselves. But perhaps we should be taking the money we were going to spend on that fancy meal and giving it all to StreetSmart. Now that would be something to feel good about.



  • this is AWESOME!!!! I didn’t know about this, it’s such a beautiful idea. I will now a.) spread the word, and b.) take part.