Mundy Project -- a winning endeavor
Not everyone runs a mile as fast as Dillon Blake, dishes a pass like Damia Ali, twirls a lacrosse stick like Ella Brandt, smashes a serve like Sahil Patel or swims as effortlessly as Jennifer Lopez.
The five Mundelein seniors may not be showing off their athletic skills these days due to the spring sports season being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet they're still making winning moves. They're encouraging others to do likewise, regardless of athletic ability or age.
Thus, they formed The Mundy Project, which is raising money to buy food and essential goods for members of the Mundelein community in need.
"We're trying have a way for people to give back that's easy and where they don't have to leave their house with a mask (to protect against the coronavirus)," Blake said. "Just a few clicks and you're done. We're hoping that everyone can unite behind our community in these difficult times."
Blake (cross country, track), Ali (basketball, lacrosse), Brandt (lacrosse), Patel (tennis) and Lopez (swimming, water polo) are all members of MHS's Student Athlete Leadership Team. Blake and Ali are co-presidents of SALT. The Mundy Project is not affiliated with MHS.
"A lot of clubs were talking about ways to donate," said Blake, who's also National Honor Society co-president and plans to run competitively at the University of Minnesota, where he wants to study computer science. "We had all these groups that wanted to give back, but it's easier if we all get together and donate to one fund rather than all collecting separate, smaller donations."
The teamwork has paid off.
Social media blast
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have helped spread the word about The Mundy Project, which through Friday, had raised $3,000 in about a month's time on its GoFundMe page. The group's original goal was a lofty $2,000.
"It sounded crazy," said Ali, who will attend Illinois State University and hopes to become a special-education teacher. "Maybe it wasn't super realistic, but we're all students who are connected with the community through a whole bunch of other clubs."
She had faith in Mundelein's community, which has more than delivered.
"I'm not really surprised," Ali said. "I feel like we have a very close-knit community. We're all going through this together, so there's a lot of empathy around it. Even if you're somebody that has food and security, you know someone who doesn't or someone who knows someone who doesn't. Everybody wants to help out."
Ali and Brandt recently went to ALDI supermarket in Mundelein to buy food and goods. The Chapel, next to MHS, is helping collect and distribute the items to families.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was the inspiration behind The Mundy Project, Blake said he and his classmates want to keep it going long after they graduate next month.
"There are always people in our community who need a little extra help," Blake said. "We're hoping to keep this going long-term. Especially with the COVID, there are going to be a lot of economic impacts that extend."
• To help contribute, visit The Mundy Project GoFundMe page: bit.ly/mundyproject