In April 2020 we started commUNITY as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Facing a shortage of quality, affordable cloth masks in the marketplace we decided to step in and help alleviate this issue. All three of us (Deanna Burger, Darby Burger and Colin Final) are born and raised in Toronto so we wanted to ensure we kept every step local. As such, the designing, fabric sourcing and manufacturing is all done in Toronto. And once we were up and running we hired local couriers, rented a recently shuttered restaurant space and hired local students to help us package and fulfill orders.
But we also wanted to directly give back to our community. Namely, Toronto of course, but more broadly our province and our country. Food security for our most at risk communities is a huge priority even when we aren’t facing a global pandemic. So we decided to donate $1.00 from every sale to Food Banks Canada. To date, because of our amazing customers, we have been able to provide over 75,000 meals nationwide. Our goal by year end is to get that number up to 100,000!
But we’ve also been able to donate locally. Specifically we have donated face masks to a Niagara based food bank and been invited to meet their staff and tour the facilities. We have partnered with a charitable organisation called Black Initiatives and donated masks for their back to school family donation drive. And we have gone beyond the Canadian border and donated kids face masks to a back to school initiative in Tennessee and Seattle spearheaded by Seattle Seahawks football player Ugo Amadi.
Finally, we have been able to give a voice to some of our most inspiring citizens through our UNITY blog. Frontline workers, teachers and even kids just starting their own small businesses! All of them providing their perspective and insight into the pandemic.
We believe that wearing a mask is not a burden but a responsibility. And along with that, we need to look out for our community. We are all in this together. Let’s keep each other safe and well.