07 January 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Eat StreetSmart

Hands up those of you who, on your way to enjoy meal at a restaurant, or returning home with a full tummy, hasn’t spotted a street child begging on the side of the road near a traffic light or stop street, and felt the urge to hand over some money to a youngster who’s clearly in desperate straits.

All of you? I thought so, because I feel just the same. No one likes to see children suffer.

The unfortunate thing is that by giving handouts, especially money, to these children, we’re giving them an income, and a reason to stay on the streets.

Am I saying ignore the problem? Not at all. Is there a better solution?

Yes. Eat and donate responsibly by choosing a restaurant that supports StreetSmart.

StreetSmart is an international non-profit fund raising organisation. In South Africa, StreetSmart beneficiaries are organisations that work to keep children off the streets and give them a viable alternative at a better life.

Find a participating eatery by checking out the list of restaurants on the StreetSmart website. Alternately, a StreetSmart card displayed prominently on your table will alert you that the restaurant supports the programme.

Best of all, donating couldn’t be simpler. At the end of the meal, a voluntary donation of R5 is added to your bill, and you’re welcome to donate more. If you do not wish to make a donation, simply advise your waiter. It’s that easy.

Now, like me, you’re probably asking, “Where does my money go?” In other words, how much of it actually reaches the children I’m trying to help.

Local corporate sponsors fund SteetSmart SA so every cent you give goes to street childrens’ programmes. Since 2005, StreetSmart has raised over 4-million through donations and fund raisers.

Everyone wins with StreetSmart. Homeless children get help, local business benefits, and you satisfy your appetite and your conscience. So do the clever thing. Next time you dine out - eat StreetSmart.

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