Dining with a conscience

BIG IMPACT: Supervisor Jess Pique at Soul Foods in Hunter Street. Picture: Simone De Peak
BIG IMPACT: Supervisor Jess Pique at Soul Foods in Hunter Street. Picture: Simone De Peak

DINESMART is an innovative concept that involves eating delicious food while helping the homeless.

Soul Foods, on Hunter Street, is the only Newcastle business to sign up for the non-profit venture and all proceeds raised will go to Carrie's Place, a woman's refuge in Maitland.

Owner of Soul Foods, Megan Garnham, said the initiative was part of the International StreetSmart organisation, which makes a big impact on people who are homeless by creating a unique bridge between the community and small businesses. This in turn assists people experiencing homelessness at the point of real need.

International StreetSmart supports projects that promote social inclusion, empowerment and sustainable change for the homeless and contribute to small businesses who lack resources to raise funds and make connections in the community.

"My daughter worked for Streetsmart and I thought it was an amazing idea," Mrs Garnham said.

"It helps out at a community level."

Soul Foods is hoping to raise $3000 in six weeks.

"We managed to raise $347 in our first week," Mrs Garnham said.

"If each table just adds $2 to their bill, they are making such a difference."

Homelessness in the Hunter is a problem. Soul Foods hopes to help reduce the number of people living on the streets by encouraging diners to donate.

"Homelessness can mean a lot of different things, and the fact that this covers everything from youth hostels to those who have been kicked out of home is what makes [Dinesmart] really special," Mrs Garnham said.

Once all the money is raised, it goes into a pool and grants are then given to chosen organisations.

To register as a Dinesmart restaurant, go to streetsmartaustralia.org/becomerestaurant or visit Soul Foods and contribute to a great cause.