A service that takes the pressure off busy families is also helping women whose voices are rarely heard in the work-life-balance debate.
Meet Rachel Golding – mother, recovering academic, social entrepreneur.
She wants to cook you dinner to help you avoid last-minute pizza purchases for family meals. Rachel is the founder and owner of Dinner on the Table, a family-style meal delivery service that is built on a passion and drive to help women made vulnerable by disability.
Rachel’s work has not gone unnoticed, recently winning the Women’s Business School Award at the 2017 AusMumpreneur Awards in Sydney. The award recognises Rachel as an outstanding Women’s Business School student who has achieved phenomenal results in all aspects of business through Dinner on the Table. On the same night, Dinner on the Table received a Mayor’s business commendation from The Hills Shire Council for its outstanding contribution to the community.
“Dinner on the Table is the culmination of two great passions: great food and finding a practical way to support the daily lives of women living with disability,” says Rachel. Here’s her story in her own words.
The light-bulb moment
The social enterprise started with a friend who was struggling to find the time to cook nutritious meals for her little ones. She knew how much I loved to cook and asked me to prepare her some dinners that she would be able to finish off quickly and easily at home.
Two Chicken & Leek Pies were cooked and eaten and that’s when I had my light-bulb moment for Dinner on the Table. Pretty soon I was receiving emails from people I didn’t even know, asking if I would cook for them too! Women everywhere are juggling work and family life. We care about what we feed ourselves and our families, but some days there are just too many balls in the air to cook a proper dinner as well. Dinner on the Table helps women meet this daily need for themselves and their families.
The social enterprise bit
What I have known for some time, is that women made vulnerable by disability (those with a disability themselves, or those caring for someone with a disability) are also doing the daily juggle. Often, these women are juggling with far fewer resources and much greater challenges. And yet, we almost never hear their voices in the work-life-balance debate.
Like all women in Australia, they too are largely responsible for organising meals for their households. Having someone take this pressure off could have an even greater impact in their lives. That’s why we use profit from the sale of meals to support these families with gifted meals each and every week.
Dinner on the Table has been operating for three years. In that time, we have grown to employ three staff in our kitchen, all of whom have personal experience of disability in their lives.
We partner with a local disability service and a number of their clients volunteer their time in our kitchen each week to work alongside staff to prepare, cook, and package meals.
We also work alongside a local school for children and young people with significant disabilities: they collect our vegetable scraps for their compost bins for their productive gardens. As participants of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, the compost feeds their gardens and their chickens. They in turn supply us with herbs (and eggs!) for our dinners.
We cook from scratch, use locally grown produce, premium quality meat and don’t use any nasties! We want our customers to be confident that what they’re feeding their families is real food, prepared just like they would (only when we cook it’s heaps easier!).
Our customers order via our website from our weekly changing menu and have their dinners delivered to their home or workplace. Our dinners are designed to feed a family, large or small, and require stress-free finishing at home.
Every week we support families living with disability who order from the same menu and have their dinners delivered just like our paying customers. In fact, the only people who know that they aren’t paying for their dinners are them and us: everything else about the way they use our service looks exactly the same as for our paying customers.
Dinner on the Table has gifted 906 dinners to families living with disability, representing 3106 adult portions (given that we feed children and adults we know that we’ve fed more people than this!). Based on ABS data, this represents 1586 hours of dinner prep time saved.
We’ve recently launched our last-minute delivery service for our time-poor customers which has seen an amazing response.
Our vision for the future is to have a nationwide service supporting families in every state. We don’t want Aussie families turning to drive-thru’s, last-minute pizza purchases and fast food because they have no other choice. And we think we can do this while supporting even more vulnerable families via the social enterprise.
Rachel’s recent award is a testament to her work and service within the Sydney community. Not only is she transforming the way society cares for women made vulnerable by disability, but she has found the answer for those families who are crying out for an easier way to eat quality, universally loved meals at home.