On any given night in Australia, over 110,000 people experience homelessness. It’s a startling statistic, and one many people feel powerless to change, but not Queenslanders Gali Blacher and Maddy Jones. Gali lives in Townsville, while Maddy lives in Brisbane, but it was in Sydney the two met and joined forces to co-found social enterprise The Good Box in 2018.
“While working in Sydney’s CBD, Maddy and I saw that most of the passers-by ignored the homeless community,” Gali says.
“We also noticed that many people wanted to help but didn’t want to give money as they were concerned about where it may go. That’s how I came up with the idea of The Good Box – a box filled with goodies that can be purchased by someone and given directly to an individual experiencing homelessness.”
Instead of relying on donations, The Good Box is a nation-wide social enterprise that relies on sales of the boxes to keep doing good. There are three different boxes available to buy online at www.thegoodbox.com.au – a Blokes Box, Gals Box and Goodie Box. They only cost $19.99 and you can either buy a box to give to a homeless person yourself or write a personal note and let The Good Box’s distributing partners, including Yumba-Meta in North Queensland, give it out on your behalf.
“We have amazing volunteers, and 35 per cent of profits go to our partner charities – Orange Sky Laundry, Share The Dignity and Jewish House – who are all experts in the homelessness space,” Gali says.
“The great thing about The Good Box is that, not only are we helping the everyday person to give but we’re also helping the homeless community, who decide what goes in the boxes.
Items include everyday essentials, such as food and deodorant, as well as items, we sometimes take for granted, like a haircut or movie ticket.
“I am so passionate about The Good Box because it’s not only a beautifully packaged gift but it’s also a vehicle to an essential conversation,” Gali says.
“It’s about breaking down barriers between those who are homeless and those who aren’t and abolishing stigmas. We had a lady who said she’d always judged those experiencing homelessness and never believed she could end up homeless herself. That is until she bought a Good Box for a homeless person she often saw near her house…”
The lady took her sons along to give the homeless man the box, which started a pleasant conversation where they found out he was an educated man who’d become homeless because of some unfortunate events. The discussion opened her eyes, and she’s become an avid buyer of Good Boxes.
“There is no hard and fast answer as to why people become homeless,” Gali says.
“Homelessness is multi-faceted and not linked back to any one reason. That’s why the illustrations on each box tell the true story of a person experiencing homelessness. I love that this concept has the power to develop more understanding of, and kindness towards, those who are less fortunate.”
In turn, it can change how the homeless view themselves, with one Good Box recipient saying: “The Good Box has helped me feel important and that the community care about me. It’s not just a box of good stuff, but it also encourages some awesome conversations.”
To find out how you can support Gali and Maddy, visit their website or Facebook page now at: