Feeding hungry kids one T-shirt at a time
Alumni feed 100,000 children worldwide
Mike Wallis (left) and Kory McLaughlin (right) wear the Tenfed T-shirts that help feed children around the world.
Not many people can say that they’ve fed 100,000 children worldwide, but social entrepreneurs Kory McLaughlin and Mike Wallis celebrated that accomplishment
this past summer.
And it all started with the two Seneca grads attending a Tony Robbins event in Chicago.
At the time, Kory owned a landscaping company and Mike worked for a financial institution. Both were looking for more meaning in their work. After hearing Tony Robbins say that giving is the path to fulfilment, they were inspired to do something greater for the world and something they had a passion for. They left their jobs behind and started a company called Passion 12, which partnered with a different charity every month. The business model was difficult to sustain, switching focus and target markets so frequently.
One of the charities they partnered with, Kids Against Hunger Canada, approached them about doing something exclusive with them.
“We figured we would be more successful with the laser focus to feed as many kids as possible,” Mike says, a 2002 Business Computer Systems graduate. “And Tenfed was born.”
In 2015, they started the clothing brand with a social cause behind it. Their apparel is stylish and meaningful. The cheeky iGIVAFCK (“I give a food care kit”) T-shirt is a bestseller because of its bold commitment to battle childhood hunger. For every Tenfed item sold, 10 meals are provided to hungry children around the world. Through Kids Against Hunger Canada, one-third of the meals are provided to children in Canada and the rest are provided to countries with the greatest need.
Kory and Mike both attended Seneca in the Faculty of Business, but never crossed paths until they were neighbours after graduating. They agree that their time at Seneca built a set of skills and a network that has helped shape them as successful entrepreneurs.
“For me, it’s about community,” says Kory, a 2006 General Business graduate. “Being a part of that program created a brand new network for me and a new community. Today, I’m still connected with a lot of those people and using a lot of the things I learned. It’s part of the reason we’re successful.”
While a portion of their business comes from online and retail store sales, the majority of sales come from festivals and events across Ontario. During the summer months, Kory and Mike set up a booth and sell Tenfed merchandise every weekend.
“There is a lot of work that goes behind this and it can be really crazy. Lots of ups and downs,” says Kory. “Knowing that we have this passion and this purpose in life is why I feel like Tenfed is a success.”