Business students launch charity program

Consumers purchase care packages to help Lower Mainland homeless

Kyrsten Downton / The Runner

As part of the Bachelor’s of Business Administration program, senior students are required to do an eight-week project where they have to create their own online business. Both Michelle Lashin and Antony Le, two of the six co-founders of Project Hastings, say their group wanted to do something different.

“Past groups have always sold things like scarves or chocolate or tea to consumers. We wanted to do something that could give back to the community,” says Le. “We felt it would suck to sell something that you’re not really passionate about.”

Their project, a company called Project Hastings, sells care packages to its buyers—but instead of going to the buyer, the packages are donated and distributed to homeless people living in the Lower Mainland. Each care package, priced at $30, contains one pair of socks and gloves, one reusable Ziploc bag, a blanket, and two tokens to the Save On Meats diner in Vancouver.

“We saw a need for this particular product because there is homelessness within our cities—not just Vancouver, but the Surrey area as well. It’s something that we may ignore on a day-to-day basis,” says Lashin.

So far over 200 care packages have been sold, and all the proceeds from the Hastings Project are being donated to the Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management Scholarship Fund.

Kyrsten Downton / The Runner

“We are not thinking about the bottom line. We are actually thinking about how everyone can win. It’s not just about helping the homeless. It’s not just about helping students. It’s about doing both,” says Le.

The students have been promoting their company through the website and through social media, and have been encouraging others to support the project, either through an actual purchase or simply through spreading the word.

“This is an easy way for people to help the community. You’re helping the homeless, and you’re helping six students graduate. All it takes is a few clicks to order or a few clicks to share,” says Le.

According to the City of Vancouver website, there are over 1,700 homeless people living in Vancouver alone. The students hope to reach their goal of selling 500 care packages by the end of the project on March 23, but they also hope to leave a legacy beyond that deadline.

“Our vision is to inspire other people. We know that we can’t actually solve homelessness, but we can help. The main thing we want to do is help individuals stay warmer and have a better day. Inspiring other people to make a change is what we want to do.”


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