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Volunteer Armies: Teens connecting essential workers

Making a difference
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Posted at 1:52 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 13:52:29-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – The COVID-19 pandemic comes with a myriad of challenges. Besides threatening our physical well-being, our mental and financial wellness has been challenged.

But through it all, something unexpected, but not surprising, has happened—volunteers, young volunteers, have stepped up to show you’re never too young to make a difference.

When the pandemic closed on-campus classes at Dartmouth, these students learned a lesson they weren’t expecting. “We noticed that there's a huge gap in terms of who is kind of looking out for the essential workers,” said Kristie Chow, a graduating senior.

These are the people who are keeping the store shelves stocked, preparing your takeout, filling Amazon boxes, delivering the mail, dumping your garbage … and most are doing it on less money than what they would make collecting unemployment.

That’s why eight students created www.giveessential.org. A website where essential workers who need help, and those who want to help can connect.

“We make the matches based off of what the donors can provide and what the workers need,” said Kaitlyn Kelley, a sophomore.

From necessities like food and cleaning supplies, to toys for children and books … in two months, volunteers donated more than three hundred thousand dollars worth of supplies and cash. “We've had a single mother who couldn't figure out how to like keep her children entertained while she was having to fulfill Instacart deliveries for like 12 hours a day,” said Chow.

So far, donors and essential workers have been connected in 49 states, and these students plan to keep going for as long as it is needed.

“It's so great to see them want to help,” said Cindy Zhu, a graduating senior and the Head of Outreach for Give Essential. “It's crazy to think that there is such a huge need,” said Chow. And so many young people with huge hearts.

Not only do the essential workers get something out of this … so do the volunteers. In fact, recent studies show teens who volunteer do better in school, avoid engaging in risky behavior, and are more likely to graduate from college.

To find out more about donating to essential workers or getting any help you may need, go to their website at www.giveessential.org.