By Andrew Wong (V)
This past May, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, Noah Bergam (VI), Kristin Osika (V), Eva Schiller (VI), and myself formed an organization called Care-Full to distribute PPE to underserved communities around New Jersey. With the new health and economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, we knew many in our local communities would be struggling financially and might not have access to masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, and this problem would only be exacerbated in the next months. Rather than sitting back and watching, we took action, creating a plan to supply these necessities to the community.
We decided to create care packages consisting of a 30 mL bottle of hand sanitizer, three individually wrapped face masks, a pair of disposable gloves, and an originally designed pamphlet on how to stay safe during the pandemic. We all drew upon our various unique skill sets and connections to accomplish this task. Noah and Eva used their publishing experience to create advertising materials, Kristin reached out to various organizations for deliveries and donations, and I organized assembly sessions at Pingry to collect PPE and make our care packages. Our combined teamwork over the course of the summer allowed us to make and donate over 1,900 care packages, while raising almost $3,500 toward the creation of more packages.
Our care packages were gladly received by many in our local community. We donated to a variety of charity organizations, such as the Interfaith Food Pantry, NourishNJ, the Visiting Nurses Association of NJ, Market Street Mission, and various other nursing homes and churches across New Jersey. Helping the community through Care-Full has been especially rewarding for the team.
As America reopens, PPE is mandatory in most public settings; those without a mask are barred from entry to stores and small businesses. Those who lack access to PPE face limited entry into these public spaces, and thus necessities such as groceries might be difficult to come by. Additionally, going to work or buying food can be stressful for those who lack proper protection against COVID-19. By providing PPE in these care packages, they ensure that everyone – no matter their socioeconomic status, risk factors, or age – can visit public locations and go outside without difficulty or fear.
To continue these vital efforts and sustain their ability to provide PPE, Care-Full needs the help of everyone in the community. The Care-Full team is currently researching ways to raise awareness in order to create and distribute more care packages. Anyone can make a monetary donation by clicking the link on their website at care-full.org, or clicking the links on our Instagram (@we_are_carefull) pages. We can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations go directly to the making of care packages: just $2 can supply a care package to someone in need!