How to make a difference during a pandemic

Caitlyn Lofland, Features Editor

Northfield Township Food Pantry

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Northfield Township Food Pantry has seen a large upsurge in the need for food for community members. 

“We were serving over 600 households before this began, and since then, we have served almost 180 new households,” Northfield Township supervisor Jill Brickman said in a phone interview.

There are many different ways students can help the food pantry, such as raising money and spreading the word through social media about the food needed at the pantry, said Brickman. Students can also go to the food pantry’s website to sign up to go in and volunteer, and the pantry makes sure volunteering is as safe as possible. 

“We’re sanitizing things on a very regular basis,” said Brickman. “We try to be very diligent about physical distancing.”

Brickman is very thankful for all of the help they have received so far, she said. 

“People have really stepped up to meet this need,” Brickman said.

Nextdoor App

When junior Louie Batang heard about the app Nextdoor, he was excited for a chance to get out of his house and help his community. 

In a phone interview, Batang said people can make a post volunteering themselves to help others with services such as getting groceries. Other users can respond to posts like Batang’s to choose the person to provide whatever service they need.

“It started out with [the person who responded] giving me a list and a store to go to,” said Batang. “I would go to that store and get as many things as I can on that list. I leave [the groceries] at their porch or garage.”

It is hard for everyone to be at home, especially if they are senior citizens, said Batang. It is important for people buying the groceries to give the seniors what they requested so that they can enjoy their food.

“It gives me a purpose,” said Batang. “I do it for the community because I want to help out.”

YMCA

The North Suburban YMCA provides many different opportunities for high school students to help others, both virtually and in person. 

In a phone interview, Kim Nyren, senior director of community investment and events at the North Suburban YMCA, said the American Red Cross is planning on holding two blood drives at the North Suburban YMCA in June since there is a severe blood shortage nationwide.

If donating blood is not an option, one of the best ways a student can make a difference is by writing a note for a senior citizen, and submitting it to the North Suburban YMCA website through their “Brighten Someone’s Day” program, Nyren said. 

“We actually got a call from Covenant Living saying how unbelievably sad and depressed these seniors were because they, number one, couldn’t … be with their family, they couldn’t even socialize and couldn’t come out of their rooms,” said Nyren. “It’s amazing what a single letter … can do for a very lonely senior.”

Information on additional ways to get involved can be found on the North Suburban YMCA website (nsymca.org).