Just one week into his Project 3000 campaign, a local teenager has collected thousands of cloth masks, sanitary hand wipes and other supplies to donate to area organizations that support unhoused people in the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena area.
Christopher Geryak, a sophomore at Saint Francis High School in La Cañada and a Burbank resident, came up with the homeless outreach campaign out of a desire to help vulnerable people during the ongoing COVID pandemic.
“There are a few reasons I started Project 3000,” Geryak explained. “The first reason was because I just wanted to help. Something had to be done to help the homeless, especially in a way that would help them [during the pandemic.]”
“I also knew that the homeless were not being allowed inside certain places, so I knew I had to do something,” he added. “My mom brought up a good point, she said the homeless may not want to buy a mask or wipes, they think to buy other things, such as food or other necessities. By giving the homeless masks and wipes they will be able to stay safer.”
Geryak decided to name his campaign Project 3000, after being inspired by a line from one of his favorite movie franchises, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I remembered the line, ‘I love you 3000,’ said by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame,” he added. “When I remembered the line, especially 3000 and love, I said to myself ‘BINGO,’ I had the name.”
“The line meant a lot to me, because you can never not spread enough love, love goes on forever. I knew I had to spread love to everyone, especially at the current state that our world is at and that the homeless population is in,” Geryak added.
Project 3000 has about ten boxes full of donations – Geryak estimates a few thousand items – just a week into his campaign, including masks (both homemade cloth masks and sterile disposable masks), hand wipes, hand sanitizer and toothpaste.
“The donations have truly been amazing,” he said. “There has been about 700 dollars in donations, which is going into getting put towards handmade masks and the buying of more supplies for the homeless. There has probably been around forty to fifty people that have donated and it has not even been a week into the collection!”
Many of the donations came from members of the Burbank YMCA, at which Geryak’s mother JoDee Geryak, teaches several exercise classes, and Geryak expressed gratitude for the support of his mother and her students.
“People have made donations through a box at my church and old school, Saint Francis Xavier in Burbank, and my current school Saint Francis High School in La Cañada. They both have designated places for donations.”
“My main idea of my service project was to make everyone happy and safe,” Geryak added. “And I feel like that will definitely be accomplished.”
The masks, wipes and other supplies will be donated to three area organizations that support unhoused people: Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC) in Burbank, Loaves and Fishes in Glendale and Union Station in Pasadena.
The Project 3000 campaign runs through March 7. Those interested in donating may drop off items at either Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Burbank or Saint Francis High School in La Cañada or contact Geryak via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate drop off or pick up.