Visit Canberra’s beautiful Civic Centre Mall, and even if you are rushing to get things ticked off the to-do list, homelessness is right there at your feet in the mall’s entrance; starkly confronting.
It is easy to avert our eyes, hoping to avoid being asked for spare change that we often don’t carry in our wallets any more.
Sanjay and Sunita from Daana, Canberra’s award winning Southern Indian restaurant, are not averting their eyes from homelessness.
They want to help and they want our support.
One of their initiatives is Karma Kitchen.
Karma Kitchen provides a luscious three-course meal with a difference. This dinner comes with no fixed price attached.
Diners pay from the heart, knowing that a portion of the proceeds go to a particular charity or cause.
This month’s Karma Kitchen charity is Pets in the Park.
Fifty per cent of the money raised from both dinner sittings will be donated to help this life-changing charity continue their important work.
Pets in the Park is an organization run by volunteer veterinary professionals who work to improve the wellbeing of the homeless by taking care of basic medical needs of their animal companions.
What began as a one-vet initiative to Sydney’s homeless has grown into a charity that runs free clinics in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.
“Wonderful people may have had a few bad things happen in their lives. Maybe you lose your job or you don’t have a great support network. It’s really not that far a fall to find yourself homeless,” says Dr Mark Westman, founder of Pets in the Park.
What does PITP offer to homeless pet owners?
“It’s primarily preventative care, health checks, vaccinations, flea treatment. If there are any other conditions, we do have limited medications. It’s a volunteer service.”
One of their patients is Patrick. Patrick’s owner lives rough and he talks about the importance of his furry friend to his emotional wellbeing.
“He’s my friend. He’s pretty much the only family I have. I let him know he’s loved and he pretty much sticks by me.”
“They are not just pets, they are family,” Vet and volunteer at PITP, Leah explains.
“They are best friends. A lot of these people will go without themselves to provide for their pets. If we can provide, they can have a little extra to put in for themselves.”
Sanjay and Sunita from Daana want to give a lot extra towards PITP.
They recently unveiled their menu for the evening. “Four-legged, furry, feathered creatures of all shapes and sizes have over the years captured our imagination on celluloid. Now they inspire the menu for Karma KitchenDaana for Pets in the Park- Canberra,” they said.
The mouth-watering menu features classic South Indian dishes and offers several gluten-free and vegan items.
Daana’s Karma Kitchen for Pets in the Park still has booking available.
When: 8 PM, Tuesday the 30th of July.
Where: 83 Theodore St, Curtin.
How much: You decide the price form the heart, with 50% being donated to Pets in the Park.
For additional information, and their full menu, check out Daana’s Facebook page.