The Aussie Swag Saving Lives
Imagine for a moment it’s cold and the rain is beating down hard across the city. Sheet lightning flashes across the night sky and thunder echoes off the concrete walls and paths of the grimy streets. You’ve been to countless homeless shelters, but all are full. Carrying what little possessions you have, you search your mind for a bridge, an abandoned car lot, an entrance way…anything to keep the rain out. It’s late and no options left but to embrace the bitter cold and icy winds that will soon find you in your sleep.
This harsh reality is what faces over 40,800 Australians who sleep rough on our streets every year. On any given night, 80% of families and 60% of individuals will be turned away from emergency shelters. Even more disturbing is that 17% of our homeless are children under 12.
This plight is what drove husband and wife team Tony and Lisa Clark to find a solution and Swags for Homeless was born. Designed to be a lightweight shelter and bed, conveniently housed as a backpack for easy transportation and storage, the Backpack Bed saves lives, improves health and maintains dignity.
Swags for the Homeless, which in 2011 won the Australian Human Rights Award for ‘Best Community Organisation’, with the assistance of 450 welfare organisations has distributed over 20 thousand Backpack Beds and is now being utilized in New Zealand, Germany, the United Kingdom and USA.
During March this year, Swags for the Homeless had an appeal, and seeing this as a praiseworthy concept and cause, Tobin Brother’s IT Manager, Chris Tuttle initiated a campaign with staff to help raise money to buy backpack beds for the homeless. Tobin Brother's staff generously donated $2,671 to the appeal. This translated to another 25 or more homeless being able to now sleep in comfort, warmth and dignity.
Michael Lynch later caught up with co-founder Lisa Clark to create this podcast (above), which takes a deeper look at the backpack bed and its positive affects to the lives of many of Australia’s homeless.
To make a donation to Swags for the Homeless or even buy your own backback bed (all proceeds go to homeless projects), please visit www.BackpackBed.org or telephone (03) 9764-9422.
Podcast spoken by: Michael Lynch - Tobin Brothers Funerals
Written by: Matt Weedon - Tobin Brothers Funerals