Service in the Time of Coronavirus: How Covid-19 has Accentuated the Need for Community Service

As part of our community service requirement, Lawrenceville's LCAP programs and one time events (OTEs) allow us to help our local communities.

As part of our community service requirement, Lawrenceville's LCAP programs and one time events (OTEs) allow us to help our local communities. On MLK Day, we get the opportunity to form connections and support those in need, whether it be in Lawrenceville, Trenton, or other adjacent towns. However, as we step away from campus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, our lack of access to the School's community service resources has led many of us to remain inactive in service. Yet our participation in community service is even more essential now. While our inaction may not be intentional, it is largely attributed to the fact that most of us don't know how to help amidst this pandemic, as we cannot physically visit these communities. However, what these organizations need is not necessarily physical bodies but rather a way to replenish their dwindling resources, such as food and donations, and garner public attention. Regardless of where we are in the world, Lawrentians should still support these local charities because they still remain an essential part of our community; our help is needed to maintain their survival.

Nonprofits are vital to our society, often providing incredibly valuable services to those in need. Each of the 1.5 million non-profit organizations throughout the United States, strives to achieve a unique mission, from providing food to the homeless to giving low-income students life-changing educational opportunities. Without them, many communities would be locked in poverty. Despite their importance, over 30 percent of nonprofit organizations in the United States are unable to continue their services after 10 years. One reason is that the public fails to contribute to these groups. In order to function, nonprofits need both funds and workers. These organizations do not collect revenue from the individuals they assist so they rely on the support of donors and volunteers. As the COVID-19 outbreak places significant restrictions on our daily lives, nonprofit organizations are struggling to provide essential needs to those they support. While many organizations struggle during regular times, during this pandemic, the need for essential items and helping hands is greater than ever before.

Most nonprofits run entirely on donations. While they usually have one or two huge annual fundraiser events where they make most of the revenue needed for the upcoming year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these foundations have no other choice but to cancel these events, decreasing funding drastically. These organizations also receive a significant part of their donations from established partnerships such as schools and businesses. However, in these difficult times, their primary sources of aid may not be viable.

In our current position as Lawrentians, it may seem like there is no alternative way to help, as it is unlikely that we will be able to package food or tutor children anytime soon. Yet our lack of physical opportunities only means that we can support these organizations through other ways. While choosing which organizations to help may be challenging, as there are countless ones in need, we can start with local charities such as HomeFront, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Mercer Street Friends, and more. Recently, Lawrenceville has been working on multiple initiatives for students to get involved this spring, from virtual tutoring to performing for senior citizens. If people have the ability to ship food or offer financial donations, most organizations will likely post items they urgently are in need of on their websites. For those who are unable to contribute financially, raising awareness for these organizations is also a great way to help them overcome this obstacle. Whether it be starting a fundraiser on social media or GoFundMe, or making a donation ourselves, we can still make a difference. As part of LCAP programs and OTEs, we have formed bonds with the local Lawrenceville community, and as those around us struggle during this crisis, it's our responsibility to help. While getting involved may seem harder than usual, it's not impossible-there are still multiple ways for us to help these nonprofits and other charities.

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