The Basket Project
See how Jack, Nathan, and Alex have teamed up to protect Toronto’s most vulnerable with their personal protective equipment initiative.
What are your names, and what year did you graduate from De La Salle?
Our names are Nathan Lee, Alex Mastromarini, and Jack Tomé, and we graduated from Del in 2019.
What is your current field of study/area of work?
Nathan: I am studying civil engineering at the University of Waterloo.
Alex & Jack: We are currently studying business management at the University of Western Ontario.
How did the idea for your initiative arise?
After weeks of self-isolation and studying, we all felt extraordinarily unproductive. With hours of free time on our hands and constant news of COVID-19 flooding our televisions, we started thinking of ways to help. However, after investigating different initiatives and organizations, we realized we could have a more significant impact in the community by starting our own initiative. As well, we had always discussed the idea of starting a company together and thought this initiative could help develop some of our entrepreneurial skills.
What has the response been like?
The response has been amazing. Within a week, we were able to raise over $5000, which made us realize that we could help out more people than we initially thought we could. With our community's help, we've been able to watch our initiative gain enough traction to help hundreds and maybe even thousands of people.
How are your family and friends coping with the current situation?
We don't know anybody who's a fan of the current situation, but it seems like everyone has figured out ways to stay healthy, productive, and happy. We've found that staying active and keeping in contact with family and friends is the only way to stay sane.
How did your experience at DEL help inspire your initiative?
As long time students of DEL, we have all had the opportunity to volunteer and interact with dozens of charitable organizations. However, at our respective universities, these opportunities were much less frequent as volunteer service is not prioritized to the degree that it is at DEL. This lack of opportunity at our universities and our past experiences at DEL inspired us to create The Basket Project and directly assist the homeless community in Toronto.
What are some of the things you miss most about DEL?
We miss being taught by DEL teachers. They always give their students the opportunity to do better, no matter how many tries it takes. Teachers at DEL genuinely care about their students, and we didn't fully understand that until we started university.
How can our alumni help support your initiative?
The best way alumni and others can help support our initiative is by generating awareness for the Basket Project. Whether you share a post on social media or donate on our website/GoFundMe, you are directly protecting the homeless community of Toronto.
To learn more, visit www.thebasketproject.org.