A Qantas Frequent Flyer member is collecting points to help drive change and assist the homeless sleep a little easier.
The following is the global news piece from SBS World News Australia who interviewed Points for Purpose founder Dave Drury about this cause. For those of you in Australia, watch the video. Outside of Australia, transcript follows.
Homelessness is on the rise, and support services are being stretched.
The Coptic Orthodox Community Outreach Service (COCOS) has been helping Sydney’s homeless for 20 years.
Peter Rose is a team leader at the organisation helping those in the inner city.
“Over the 13 years that I’ve been at this location, I’ve definitely seen a lot of growth, it does go up and down, but it’s on an upward for sure, in terms of our service, we’ve gone from maybe 10 volunteers which would suffice, to now 50 or 60 and everyone is busy.”
COCOS has handed out 14,000 meals and 18,000 drinks in the past year.
It also distributes clothing to the homeless and has just received a donation of sleeping bags thanks to an ingenious initiative started by Dave Drury.
“So tonight I’ve turned up with about 10 sleeping bags that were donated by a number of people, who have given their points for purpose. I turned up to this area and worked with the Institute of COCOS.”
Mr Drury says the idea came after a Facebook post from a friend in the UK wanting to offload 68,000 Qantas frequent flyer points soon to expire.
“My direct post to him was, I don’t think anyone needs any more crap in their life and why don’t we give them away to the underprivileged. I’m sure the other number of guys who were on there thought, this good Samaritan why is he ruining our day, but everyone jumped on.”
His pitch worked and he jumped onto the Qantas website.
“Knowing that we couldn’t use it for flights, I thought lets go on the store and what was on there and we looked at electrical goods, I looked at all the different things that were available, I saw sleeping bags were there and just thought about, it was really cold, I thought about the people who were sleeping on the street, and it would be really good to have a good night sleep,” says Mr Drury.
A follow up social media appeal generated more interest, and his friends like Pete Sanders contributed.
“It just made sense to donate the points, and like a lot of people I’ve got a truck load of frequent flyer points and therefore decided to ship a sleeping bag, and it was so easy and everyone just waded in on that as well behind Dave so it made a lot of sense to us,” he said.
Dave has so far collected more than 340,000 points and purchased 30 sleeping bags.
COCOS team leader Shani Ewington is supportive of his initiative.
“It’s amazing, I don’t know why someone didn’t think of it earlier I was just blown away and when he contacted me and said would these be any good, I thought, I was doing a happy dance.”
For those homeless lucky enough to receive a sleeping bag like Paul, it will make cold nights a little more bearable.
“We’ve been getting some cold nights, I’ve got the cold and that will stop it it’ll keep me nice and warm so hopefully I’ll get better and start feeling a bit warmer I reckon.”
For Dave Drury, his inspiration, only came recently.
“I sold out of my own company, this year I’ve been travelling the world, I’ve been to some really underprivileged countries, and it’s really been on the back of that that I’ve realized you don’t have to be super human to do something extraordinary, you just have to do something.”
COCOS’ Shani Ewington says that something, doesn’t have to be big.
“We’re always in need of personal toiletries, there are plenty of places here where you can have a shower, but they don’t supply toiletries, towels, all those basic things that we take for granted.”
Changing the world, one point at a time.