Feedfive, an organization that sells T-shirts to help feed people in need, started out for Danny Aguizi as an evening to hang out with friends. It was the fall of 2012, and his roommate, Ian Reed, was looking for some friends to join him in cooking a meal for 300 people. Aguizi, an avid cook, was instantly interested. And then he found out who he would be cooking for: participants in Ray of Hope’s daily meal program. “It was an opportunity,” Aguizi said. “We made the meal at [Reed’s] church. We were having fun and cooked jambalaya. And then the next day we took the meal to Ray of Hope and served it.” It was an eye-opening experience for the University of Waterloo psychology and business student. Ray of Hope helps people in Waterloo Region who are struggling with crime, addiction or homelessness. “I went in wanting to help them,” he said. “But they actually made our day.” The group of friends decided to commit to cooking a meal monthly for Ray of Hope. Depending on school and work schedules as well as co-op work placements, the group’s size fluctuated from month to month. It was difficult to budget for the meals because the team never knew how many people would be available. From the beginning, the small group paid for the cost of the meals themselves. “We asked for at least $10 from everyone,” Aguizi said. Sometimes people were able to contribute more money. Sometimes other friends and family members would help cover costs. But sometimes the group was still scraping by to buy the meal for 250-300 people. During one particularly shorthanded month, Aguizi couldn’t help but think there must be a better way to cover the costs of the dinners. The question was how? The team thought about crowdfunding, selling individual meals or selling an item where the proceeds went to the meals. “We needed to make something,” Aguizi said. The small team decided to design a T-shirt. “It was important for us to be super transparent,” he said. The team worked out numbers, tracked down a high-quality T-shirt and realized that the sale of one shirt would cover the cost of five meals. Feedfive was born. The group spent months carefully designing the logo and searching for the perfect shirt. “I want people to wear it,” he said of the soft, fair-trade shirts from a supplier in Egypt. Aguizi already had a drawer full of bulky, unflattering T-shirts he had received from charities. Those shirts rarely made it out of his house. The soft grey T-shirts that feedfive launched earlier this month have been a hit. The first run of unisex shirts, which retail for $29, has almost sold out. The second run will have women’s and men’s options. The team is currently shipping to Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., but will do their best to get the shirts anywhere. Aguizi is happy about the success of the T-shirts, which are driving more people to volunteer to cook or serve meals for Ray of Hope clients. But he’s already thinking about what he can do next. “People giving their time to our community is just as important as buying a shirt,” he said. The feedfive team plans to offer more merchandise in the future, and is working out a corporate T-shirt plan where companies can come up with their own designs and still send proceeds to a local shelter. Aguizi hopes to work with other shelters in Ontario and across Canada. “We started this because someone needed some help,” he said. Having cooked a meal a month for the last three years, he can’t imagine not doing it in the future. “If you have some free time, you can do something that matters,” he said. *** The end of the summer means the start of fall festivals in Ontario. While many people will be trudging down to Toronto for the Canadian National Exhibition, there is still a lot to do around Waterloo Region. I see and hear… This weekend sees the Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival return for its 27th season. Due to construction, the festival has been moved off King Street to a carnival-like setting behind Waterloo City Hall. The main action will happen between Regina Street South and William Street East. The festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 and run until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30… BrainStation is hosting a Waterloo info and networking session this Thursday, Aug. 27 at the Communitech Hub, Suite 100, 151 Charles St. W. in Kitchener. The free event starts at 7 p.m. and highlights include networking, free drinks and information about upcoming web development courses… Startup Weekend Guelph is taking over the University of Guelph. If you want to try starting your own company, head down to the McLaughlin Library at 50 Stone Rd. E. in Guelph on Friday, Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to pitch their ideas on the Friday evening. After the pitches, teams form and work for 48 hours to go from an idea to a prototype that is pitched to judges and an audience on the Sunday evening. Tickets are $99 for the action-packed weekend.