One UK company is thinking outside of the box when it comes to helping homeless youth.
Advertising group Publicis and its charity client, Depaul UK, recently founded the Depaul Box Company, which sells recycled cardboard boxes and uses the profits to support Britain's homeless youth. The company also spreads awareness by sharing a story on each box about the young people it helps.
On the outside of each box is a profile about a homeless youth whom Depaul UK has either helped or is planning to help -- such as Stephanie. After her abusive mother kicked Stephanie out of the house at the age of 17, she turned to Depaul UK, which helped her go back to school and find a home. Stephanie's box profile mentions that, "She's now studying to become a social worker and hopes to get a flat of her own, so the only thing she'll need a cardboard box for is carrying books."
The company has also launched an ad campaign that features graphic designs and inspiring messages on cardboard box backdrops. Its Twitter page features posts such as, “Every box we sell helps a young person sleeping on one. Good Karma in a cardboard box.”
In a recent article for the Guardian, Depaul UK CEO Martin Houghton-Brown mentioned that the company aims to generate $4.6 million in annual proceeds within the next few years, all benefiting homeless youth.
Studies conducted by Centrepoint, a youth homelessness charity based in London, estimate that 80,000 young people experience homelessness in the UK every year.
Depaul's efforts and campaign are aiming to help change the course of a solemn reality in Britain, he wrote in the Guardian.
"By mainstreaming these kinds of businesses in this way, pioneers like us can finally bridge the gap between business and charity, and demonstrate that successful businesses can change the lives of people out there," Houghton-Brown wrote.
Still, the UK’s government and its citizens are failing to talk about the issue of youth homelessness - points out a recent article by Huffington Post blogger Sean Axtell. "If there is one profound reality in UK homelessness it is that we as a country refuse to speak of it," Axtell mentions.
Depaul Box Company’s charity intiative and its awareness campaign are the types of original steps to end what Axtell calls an “unspoken alliance in silence.”
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