Lawrentians Around the World Fight COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues affecting communities across the world, several Lawrenceville students have started projects or fundraisers to support those in need.
As the pandemic continues affecting communities across the world, several Lawrenceville students have started projects or fundraisers to support those in need. After seeing the impact the pandemic has had on their own communities, a group of students decided to take matters into their own hands, each doing their individual part to fight Covid-19.
Unwilling to just “stand and watch on the sideline,” Drew Paglia ’22 and his sister, Heather Paglia, created 5help to support “the small businesses that were suffering and those who also work really hard on the frontlines to help.” Paglia’s charity has supported over 20 small businesses and has delivered meals within six states, providing more than 2,000 meals to those in need.
What had started as a simple crowdfunding page on GoFundMe has quickly grown into a national campaign that has already raised over $25,000 dollars. On 5help’s accomplishments, Paglia said, “It means a lot to me when I see the impact 5help has had on people. It really makes me smile and be grateful that I started this.”
President of the Helping Homefront Club William Atkinson ’21 encourages the Lawrenceville community to continue supporting HomeFront, a local homeless shelter that provides families with housing, childcare, and education. In wake of the pandemic, HomeFront is hosting its fundraiser Walk for Hope virtually to raise funds for programs that help more than 400 kids each year. Atkinson has started a Lawrenceville team to participate in the fundraiser so “the community can continue to assist HomeFront in this particularly challenging time.”
Reflecting on the pandemic’s influences on Homefront, Atkinson said, “Coronavirus has made helping around 14,000 struggling families each year even harder for HomeFront. Not only has the issue of supplies become even more pressing, but the virus has also discouraged volunteers and homeless shelters from continuing to support their communities.”
Tiffany Yeung ’22 recently designed “Hands for Humanity,” a piece of artwork sold on Redbubble, a site where people can upload their own artwork to sell on stickers, notebooks, and clothing. All proceeds will be donated to the Inspira Health Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support medical workers, people without medical insurance, and to purchase testing kits and supplies. Yeung’s brother is currently a fellow at the MedStar Hospital, serving as a frontline worker, and for Yeung, her brother is “definitely [her] biggest inspiration.”
When designing the sticker, the title “Hands for Humanity” came to mind for Yeung as a message. She said, “I wanted to portray that even though we’re isolated we’re still in this together. The image of multiple hands converging at the center atop a globe illustrates how COVID-19 is a global battle. We all have to lend a hand, whether it be a smaller or bigger role, for the greater good of humanity to overcome coronavirus.”
While Yeung definitely hopes “Hands for Humanity” makes a change for the better in the coronavirus outbreak, she said, “it would be amazing if my efforts inspire the rest of the community to also do something. This is a team effort and no one is in this by themself.”
Seeing firsthand the impact of COVID-19 on his home in Hong Kong, Samuel Tang ’22 wanted to find a way to contribute and help those in America.
With the opportunity to purchase medical equipment in China, Tang and a group of his friends, also international students, purchased a total of ten thousand surgical masks and donated them to the School. Tang felt that he had “a duty to help those in the US, because [Asia] has mostly walked out of the pandemic, and it’s time to help those who are still in it.”
Looking forward, Tang “hope[s] more people will see they are in a position to help,” and encourages “more Lawrenceville students around the world to try to help those in the US,” particularly in communities near campus.
Since the sixth grade, Miles Sylvester ’21 has been working with the organization CityHarvest, a food rescue organization centered in New York that helps feed the hungry. Over this past year, CityHarvest has delivered 71 million pounds of food, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens to provide food to New Yorkers who may need it.
With the pandemic putting another burden on many families, Sylvester knew he had to continue helping the organization support families in the community. While he had originally started trying to collect and donate food, Sylvester thought he could contribute more by raising money; he noted that “with every twenty-seven dollars raised, one pound of food will be given to a family.”