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Paying it forward

Anita Jaensch 08 April 2020

A veteran-owned café chain is giving back in true ANZAC spirit, helping people donate meals to people struggling financially due to COVID-19.

No One Left Behind is the brainchild of Afghanistan veteran Michael Lorrigan, who owns the Café Two 14 chain on Brisbane’s northside.

On returning from the Middle East, Michael and his partner were looking for a business opportunity when they saw a café – Café Scuzi – for sale. Despite not having any café experience, they made the decision to give it a go.

Only a couple of months later, Michael walked past a boarded-up café in his local shopping centre. After a phone call to Centre Management, the couple were running their second café. This one they called Café Two 14, after Michael’s unit, the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry).

“We still had no clue what we were doing,” Michael laughs. “I still didn’t know how to make a coffee. But we decided to have a crack.”

Three years later, Michael and his partner have three more cafés under the Two 14 banner, plus the original Café Scuzi. And Michael’s learnt how to make a great coffee.

With social distancing measures being enforced as a result of the spread of COVID-19, Michael says he’s seen café turnover drop substantially. But, recognising there are people who are worse off, he’s found a way to provide a helping hand.

“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment,” Michael says. “But some are doing it tougher than others.

“I saw a post on Facebook about someone who was having trouble making rent and buying food, and I started thinking about how we could help. We’re just trying to maintain a sense of community.”

As part of the No One Left Behind initiative, patrons can buy a meal, which Café Two 14 will prepare fresh for frontline healthcare workers or people who are struggling financially.

Michael says in the first 36 hours of the initiative, his patrons have bought 100 meals for others.

He says if people need a meal, they could simply message him through Café Two 14’s Facebook or Instagram page, indicating at which café they would like to pick it up.

If you would like to purchase a meal for someone in need, visit Café Two 14’s website and check out their No One Left Behind menu.

 

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