Today BSSC students heard the story of a life-changing lasagna.

23-year-old Alex Dekker, founder of food charity Alex Makes Meals, shared his entrepreneurial journey which began during the early days of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Alex’s sister was one of the first doctors on the first Covid ward. She was working long shifts and was simply exhausted.

Alex knew that he wanted to help her get through the stressful time and make sure she was looking after herself.

“I knew she needed help and that I loved her,” he explained. “I did what any of you would have done for a loved one – I helped in whatever way I could. That was to make a meal for her.”

The lasagna that Alex made for his sister, a brave frontline worker, sparked a greater movement.

Seeing how the simple act of providing a meal could help lighten someone’s load gave Alex—only 19 years of age at the time—the idea to put a call out on social media.

In a Facebook post, the thoughtful teen announced that he would be making meals for those working in the healthcare industry and their families, and for people to reach out if they would like one.

What followed was an overwhelming response to the call out: people not only wanted to take Alex up on the offer of a free meal during a tough time, but many people also wanted to help Alex assist others—whether by donations of ingredients, or their time to help cook the meals.

It was at this moment that Alex Makes Meals was born. From its humble beginnings supporting those working on the frontline during the pandemic, the food charity now has over 80 volunteers and has provided over 800,000 meals to those in need.

Alex’s work saw him nominated for the 2022 Victorian Young Australian of the Year, and form partnerships with organisations such as Toyota and Lindt Chocolate.

His message to students was to treat others with kindness, and to make the choices in life that they feel are right (which aren’t always the predictable ‘smart’ choices).

“Back then, I would never have imagined I’d one day end up speaking to groups like this,” he reflected.

“No one quite knows what they’re doing. Walk with a purpose—and above all, be kind.”