Entrepreneur Nima Bhavansikar, a fifth grade student at Rose Elementary School, raised $700 for the Milpitas Food Pantry through her Shirts For Smiles business venture.
“During the quarantine, I’ve been wanting to do something to help those who are affected by the virus,” Nima explained. “I recently started a website. A website dedicated to helping those in need.”
On her site, Nima sold t-shirts with two inspirational slogans, “We are Stronger Together” and “Unity in Community.” She sold the shirts for $12 each with 80 percent of all profits donated to the Food Pantry. Visit Shirts For Smiles here.
“When I first started this project, I was hoping to get at least 20 orders and when I got 20 orders, I hoped to get 50,” said Nima, who totalled 53 orders before all was said and done. “I faced many challenges, and I learned a lot along the process.”
Nima, who learned how to build websites in fourth grade, was inspired to create Shirts For Smiles after seeing images of those affected by COVID-19, especially one capturing a long line of people waiting for food at a Food Pantry in Pennsylvania.
“The image stuck with me, and I couldn’t shake it off,” said Nima, who also drew inspiration from Milpitas High student Isabella Morrison’s Milpitas Gives Back project.
Nima began developing the Shirts For Smiles site over Spring Break. Once the site was launched, she gathered as many contacts as she could and began sending out emails.
“I sent email after email so I could get as many orders as I could,” added Nima, who sought assistance from her parents, teacher Ashley Grilli and Rose Principal Nanci Pass along the way.
In the end, Nima decided to donate 100 percent of all profits from the t-shirt sales to the food pantry, with the urging of her parents.
“It was a great experience,” Nima said. “The encouragement helped me overcome my challenges.”