THE Good Box co-founders, Gali Blacher and Maddy Jones, have been named finalists for the Young Australian of the Year award.
Both quit their full-time corporate jobs about four years ago to establish the social enterprise and charity, as a means to directly help people experiencing homelessness, restore dignity and hope, and raise community awareness.
“To be nominated is like a dream,” Blacher, who is Jewish and lives in Melbourne, told The AJN last week.
“We feel very privileged and proud, and we hope to use this platform to abolish misconceptions of homelessness, and bring dignity and connections to thousands of vulnerable Australians.
“And from a personal perspective, I am very thankful to my parents for teaching me about tikkun olam, and the value of tzedakah.”
What first inspired the close friends and former work colleagues to take direct action was when they watched someone step over a homeless person on the footpath, “as if they were a rock”.
They came up with the idea to create a range of beautifully packed gift boxes filled with essential items, that get distributed to Australians in need through charity partners, including to some of the 116,000 individuals experiencing homelessness on any given day.
There are box packs designed especially for homeless women, for men, a beauty pack for survivors of domestic violence who are homeless, and holiday-themed packaging to foster festive cheer leading up to New Year’s Eve.
The Good Box also provides school and corporate engagement programs, to educate staff and students on the important social issue of homelessness, so that they can empower others to help homeless people in the community.
Many Jewish schools in Sydney and Melbourne have been visited by Blacher for these sessions, the most recent being Melbourne’s Mount Scopus College last month.
To date, more than 15,000 ‘Good Boxes’ have been gifted to people experiencing homelessness, funded by donations.
The charity is aiming to distribute 3000 more this summer holiday season across Australia, with the public’s help, through charity partners including Jewish House, Orange Sky Australia, Mission Australia, and many more.
“It is so restorative and vital, for positive mental health, that these vulnerable Australians are not forgotten, and still receive a beautiful gift, just as the rest of Australia does during the holidays,” Blacher said.
“If you’d like to help us on this journey, please visit our website.”
Jones added, “Those who receive the boxes are so grateful, and feel inspired to push through difficult nights after having been reminded of their value as people.
“Knowing that others care about them is so important for those experiencing homelessness, if they are to have the determination to overcome their hardships.”
To find out more, visit thegoodbox.com.au