A+W Teams With Road 22 to Fight Homelessness in San Francisco

by Alice Larkin-Cahan | June 18, 2016

What struck New Yorkers Adrienne Bavar and Whitney Skibell about living in San Francisco was not the Google buses whisking Millennials to work or the Save the Food movement deterring waste, but the rampant homelessness. 

Rather than look away at the people living on the streets, the business partners hooked up with Road 22 to create a limited-edition T-shirt that will help homeless women and children. Their “More Than a T-shirt” campaign will begin June 26 — in advance of San Francisco media’s designated day to cover the city’s homelessness problem in depth on June 29.

As of January 2015, there were more than 7,500 homeless adults and youth in San Francisco, a city that is just shy of 47 square miles. Skibell, a human rights activist, and Bavar, a marketing and branding consultant, met through nonprofit work in New York before each relocated to the West Coast. This spring they started A+W to help fight homelessness and hunger in San Francisco. They decided to team up with Road 22’s founders Alice Larkin Cahan and Fif Ghobadian for the project after meeting them three months ago, Bavar said.

Some of the proceeds from each online purchase of the $86 Road 22 shirts will be donated to Compass Family Services, which helps homeless families and other at-risk individuals in San Francisco become self-sufficient and secure stable housing. As part of its socially conscious mission, Road 22 employs women who were formerly homeless or incarcerated. The company’s name refers to the road leading from the Central California Women’s Correctional Facility, the largest facility of its kind in the world. Road 22’s web site notes that women are released from CCWCF with only $200 in their pockets.

An entirely California-sourced and manufactured operation, Road 22 has its screenprinting done at Ashbury Images, a San Francisco nonprofit that helps at-risk youth. Bavar and Skibell plan to send a shirt to Gwyneth Paltrow, who sells Road 22 on her site and featured the collection in Goop’s San Francisco pop-up store.

Road 22 shoppers will be encouraged to photograph themselves wearing the shirt and tag it with #MoreThanAShirt and #RoadTwentyTwo. A few years ago, Skibell, whose family owned the specialty food store and cafe Dean + Deluca at that time, teamed with Lauren Bush Lauren’s Feed to sell tote bags that helped fund 15,000 meals for the needy. Skibell said of A+W, “We fundamentally believe that fashion and philanthropy can drive awareness and change. What you wear has the power to start a conversation about this issue at every meal, on every date and at every happy hour. You can be the voice of change.”