This Cambridge TikToker took a food bank shopping with money he raised on the app

Brandon Lukach uses TikTok as a way to connect with people, but after learning he could make money on the app, the Cambridge, Ont., truck driver used the cash to give back to the community.

'I'm happy that I'm able to make people smile, make people happy,' Brandon Lukach says

Screenshot from a video posted by Brandon Lukach on YouTube shows him shopping with Sarah Tooze of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank in Ontario after Lukach did a fundraiser on the video-sharing app TikTok. (Its Lukach/YouTube)

Brandon Lukach had no idea you could make money on TikTok.

The truck driver from Cambridge, Ont., uses the video-sharing app to connect with people during the day. Sometimes, he'd do livestreams, and he noticed that, during them, people would send him emojis.

"It took about a week and a half for me to actually realize that those emojis turned into real-life currency that I can withdraw," he said in an interview.

"I didn't think that you could make money on it … so I just said that I'd give every penny back to the community in some way."

Lukach, who goes by itslukach on TikTok, started off making $260, which he used to buy gift cards he handed out to people experiencing homelessness in downtown Kitchener.

Then a friend mentioned the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank was struggling with donations, so he reached out to the food bank and offered to make a video.

WATCH | Brandon Lukach's video of taking the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank shopping.

Sarah Tooze, the donor development manager for the food bank, said it was an exciting experience.

"We've been looking at ways that we can encourage the next generation of philanthropists, as well as engaging youth in our community who are statistically vulnerable to becoming food insecure adults," Tooze said.

Shopping trip

Lukach raised $1,400 — then took the food bank shopping.

Tooze said they wanted the video to feature some of the most needed items: cereal, canned fruit, sandwich spreads, canned meat and fish.

"Those are some items that we typically run out of at various times throughout the year."

But they also bought fresh produce, cheese, halal meat and other special items to show
"folks that we do accept fresh food," she said.

Tooze, left, donor development manager for the Cambridge food bank, with Lukach in a video about the shopping trip before they left for the store. (Its Lukach/YouTube)

Hunt for cash, gift cards

Lukach also regularly posts to TikTok from towns across southern Ontario to say he's about to hide money or a gift card somewhere — and then he encourages people to find it in a challenge he dubbed #TheHunt.

He said it just feels good to give back to people for no particular reason.

"I'm happy that I'm able to make people smile, make people happy."

Lukach inside the food bank with some of the donations he was able to purchase using money raised through donations from TikTok users. (Its Lukach/YouTube)

He said he also has plans for more fundraisers in the future.

"We can really do whatever we choose to do," he said. "And as long as it means giving back to the community and trying to spread a good message, I think that's something that no matter what, I'm going to continue to try to do."

CBC K-W's annual Sounds of the Season campaign raises food and funds for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.


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