This story first appeared on Benojo on August 15, 2016. Image courtesy of Two Good.
Doing good is at the heart of all of Two Good’s work. The Sydney-based social enterprise practices a ‘buy one, give one’ philosophy where for every meal purchased, the same meal is provided to someone at a domestic violence shelter or sleeping rough. Two Good also only employ women from the shelters and refuges they serve – and pay them above award wage – to make their tasty and wholesome meals under the guidance of head chef Briar Macky (formerly of Chiswick restaurant). We spoke Two Good co-founder Rob Caslick to learn more about their work and story.
A circle of good
Looking for an alternative to fundraising to financially support the Inside Out Organic Soup Kitchen (IOOSK) in Kings Cross, which he established in 2011, Rob and co-founder Cathal Flaherty – who are both project services engineers by day – set up Two Good.
“One of the reasons was financially sustainability,” says Rob on why they chose to adopt a socially led business model for Two Good, “and the other reason is we really are engaging many more people in what we are doing. It’s quite easy for you to choose to purchase your lunch in the same way you always do, but you are also choosing to provide a meal for someone in a shelter. It’s a very subtle way to get involved in charity – it’s a nice entry point and there’s no commitment. While you enjoy your lunch, you also provide a lunch to a woman in a shelter and you also get told where the lunch [you treated] has gone while you are eating it.”
Among the shelters and refuges that receive the meals are the Women’s and Girl’s Emergency Centre, Elsie’s Refuge for Women and Children, Kilara Women’s Refuge, Dolores Single Women’s Refuge, A Women’s Place, St Canice’s Kitchen and The Wayside Chapel.
In addition to this, Rob says Two Good choose to support aligned businesses that are socially and ethically led. “One of the great things about having the business is we always get to choose who we are buying our produce from – we know every supplier. Every Two Good soup you buy, you get a Bread & Butter Project roll. They are great and it’s also us deciding that we are going to pay a little bit more and align ourselves with another social enterprise.”
Growing Two Good
Two Good may be little more than a year old but they have already steadily grown their offering. In addition to their lunches, they also make and sell a breakfast range. Every 1.5-litre jar of organic muesli or granola sold supports disadvantaged students at Holroyd High School in Sydney’s west, who may be going without food before and during school. Rob humbly notes: “I don’t want to overestimate what we are doing but simply by providing breakfast we are giving kids a bit of an extra opportunity, a chance to learn or perhaps stay in school for a bit longer.”
While a letter from an inspirational woman called Lisa McAdams, a recipient of Two Good lunch jars during her stay at a domestic violence shelter, was the catalyst for the launch of the Two Good Care campaign. In the letter, Lisa wrote: “The day I arrived at the refuge I was handed some basics, shampoo, conditioner, soap. I was grateful to receive them as I had arrived without my own toiletries. The thing that touched my heart about it was they were wrapped in cellophane with a pretty purple bow. This small act of kindness was so pivotal in my healing.”
Inspired, Two Good approached a large skincare provider to collaborate on a Mother’s Day campaign with them. After negotiations stalled Rob says Two Good went ahead and developed the care packs themselves with the help of a custom manufacturer and a design agency, while also managing to secure Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki as the face of their Mother’s Day campaign. Some 570 Two Good care packs, beautifully packaged and tied with purple ribbon, were distributed to 23 refuges across NSW with many others being donated directly.
It’s a busy but exciting time for Two Good as they move into planning more collaborations with chefs, training and scholarship opportunities for the women they employ, as well as working towards collating Christmas hampers for the women’s shelters and growing the campaign into a national one. Rob says of Two Good’s growth and success: “People are generally good. People want to help. You just have to make it easy for them. And most people will say yes [when asked for their help], I think.”