It's our Birthday! One Year on... Why We Started ‘GiveAMask.ca’


If you’ve just stumbled across this site, this store, this idea of GiveAMask.ca...  you might be compelled to wonder what inspired a couple of young, ambitious entrepreneurs to launch such a project.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many corporations sought out ways to take advantage and squeeze every last cent out of panicked consumers struggling to grasp the complications of this new reality. 

GAM founders Paruksheen Dunjisha and Michael Carrier caught this startling trend early as the deadly virus began its rapid spread across Canada and around the world. 

Sheen and Michael focused specifically on the mask situation. Michael, a self-proclaimed nerd of all things--especially data--poured through the numbers coming in. He quickly realized how important masks would become in the fight against COVID-19. This was a full 3 months before provinces started making masks mandatory in public spaces. 

In March 2020, masks weren’t mandated for public use yet and all available resources were redirected to healthcare workers. Yes, masks were going to healthcare workers and those most in need, there was no denying that, but what about other frontline workers? Grocery clerks, crossing guards, teachers and countless others needed masks too. 

Michael, a past volunteer at the North York Harvest Food Bank, saw the bravery and selflessness of those volunteers who still wanted to help despite a worldwide pandemic. It was heartbreaking to know that they couldn’t access PPE. 

It was a problem that the founders of GAM were committed to answering. 

There were people who needed masks and people across the country who could make masks, but didn’t necessarily have the tech or business savvy to get them out the door. 

This is when GiveAMask was born. 

The concept is simple: Local artisans across Canada get paid to make masks at home, then GAM sells those masks online and for every mask or other product sold on the site, one mask is then donated to charity. 

When they promoted the first iteration of the website on Reddit, they were flooded with orders. People loved the concept. 

Soon GAM forged its own identity, working with graphic designers to create original artwork. Michael and Sheen used their engineering and business savvy to design a mask that would be truly comfortable and durable. 

The GAM founders know this won’t last forever. Vaccines are coming and that means we can all look forward to the end of this pandemic.

However, they will also be proud of what they created and the thousands of people they helped along the way. 

 

(p.s. That photo is a throwback to April 2020 when the founders were taking product photos with the first mask!)