Student group UBC Dollar Project has worked throughout the pandemic to support Vancouver’s homeless youth by providing masks and other supplies to charity organization Covenant House Vancouver.
Each year the UBC Dollar Project, a self-described “global issues club” rooted in collective action, helps one community organization. This year — with help from Cadillac Fairview Pacific Centre and Dollarama — the club donated a total of 4,100 masks, 76 water bottles and 100 tubes of toothpaste to the Covenant House.
“With the pandemic, we saw a lot of issues arise that needed help, but we personally felt that there was the least emphasis on youth homelessness in Vancouver,” said Dollar Project Event Director and third year Borna Naderi.
Covenant House Vancouver is home to around 100 homeless and at-risk youth. The pandemic has not only exacerbated the homelessness crisis, but has also complicated fundraising, said members of the Dollar Project.
Due to social distancing restrictions, the club was unable to hold in-person fundraising events. Instead, the Dollar Project chose to help by raising awareness and donating supplies.
Former Co-President and third year Elsie Wang said that the Covenant House specifically asked for the goods that it needed the most: masks, water bottles and toothpaste.
“We reached out to basically any organization that we thought would be able to help us and we kept reaching out until eventually we got some results,” said Manvis Xia, president and second year.
Naderi said the Dollar Project’s ideology is that “every dollar counts.” According to Wang, this applies to more than just a dollar value. She said that even a seemingly small donation of 100 masks is enough to give every resident at the Covenant House a new mask.
Even though fundraising was difficult, Wang said she didn’t think that took away from what the project hoped to accomplish this year.
“We hope that what we’ve done can make their day just a little bit better and we hope students will be inspired to do the same.”