Written by Bonnee Crawford.
It was a windy but sunny Wednesday morning and I was going in to work soon, but that pink van on Mutant Way had an irresistible smell luring me in. I’m a sucker for Nutella crepes on a good day, but paired with the knowledge that my money was going towards the relief of youth homelessness assured me that it was five dollars well spent.
The DUSA club SeCo hosted a visit from Crepes for Change: Australia’s first non-profit crepe van and they’re raising money to try and get young people off the streets. When they brought their van to Deakin a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of chatting to the founder of the organisation, Dan Poole, while he helped cook and sell crepes to other Deakin students—after I’d brought and eaten one for myself, of course!
But in all seriousness, youth homelessness is a real issue and the broader community are not aware of how big it is. While I was talking to Dan, he told me that in Australia there are forty thousand people between the ages of twelve and twenty eight who are homeless. To me, that number is shocking.
In October last year, Dan, his brother Liam, and a team of their friends, came up with the idea of starting a crepe van to raise money for homeless young people and decided they had to make it happen. Dan liked the idea of social enterprise and using his entrepreneurial skills to run the charity like a business, to ensure that it would sustain itself in the long run. The team used crowdfunding to raise four thousand dollars, which they used to buy the crepe van. After that, they applied for grants and sought sponsorship from other organisations.
Finally, the crepe-making began, and according to a post on Facebook by SeCo, the day they came to Deakin in August made $500 dollars. With the money they raise, Crepes for Change will help train underprivileged young people in hospitality so that they can find employment and stability.
‘There’s not a single major city in the world who have an eliminated homelessness,’ Dan says. ‘So it would be cool if Melbourne could be the first.’
The money raised at Deakin in August was enough to train two disadvantaged young people in skills that would help them to find stable employment, according to SeCo’s Facebook post.
Another goal of the Crepes for Change team is to fund other social enterprises around Melbourne who strive to eliminate homelessness.
So, five dollars for a delicious crepe and the alleviation of youth homelessness in Australia sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The Crepes for Change van will be back on campus at Deakin in Burwood on Monday 7th September, from 11am until 3pm and I’ll be lining up for another bite to eat.
You can learn more about Crepes for Change by visiting their website: http://crepesforchange.com/
SeCo is also hosting a Social Entrepreneurship Conference, which Dan will be speaking at. You can find more information and purchase tickets here: http://bit.ly/1IWSzNX