By Luiza Odhiambo '21
Like many families during this time, mine has been impacted by the pandemic. In many ways, we’re very fortunate because my mom still has her job and we’re both healthy. But, every day she leaves the house to interact with hundreds of people, and I try not to think of “what if.” The day-to-day is routine now: my mom comes home in the afternoon, washes her hands and car keys – sometimes her phone – and immediately takes a shower.
Occasionally my mom will share a story: her lack of COVID protection gear, the unreliable alternatives her company provides, or a customer who refused to follow social distancing guidelines. Hearing her perspective of the pandemic and seeing her source her own masks made me uneasy.
Her stories of the uncertainty surrounding essential work led me to Give Essential. Before this opportunity, I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. Give Essential – a matching platform that connects donors with household items to essential workers in need – started out as an idea my friends and I had. One minute we were brainstorming a name, and the next, I received a text that the website was launching, and they needed my help with outreach.
Through this opportunity, I’ve been able to distract myself from my own situation and direct my attention to other people. It’s difficult to think of personal fears when I’m reading stories of families who have to ration food, individuals who are homeless and don’t have access to public showers anymore, and healthcare workers who don’t have time to shop for necessities after long shifts.
Give Essential has shown me how frontline workers are overwhelmed at every level; however, we can find small yet impactful ways to help.
This organization means a lot to me and I’m proud to be a part of it, but I’m also aware that we aren’t the only ones helping the frontline. If you have the means to support in any way – whether it’s donating or volunteering – Give Essential is the organization that will help you find a way to help your local community and the people who keep it running.