Courtesy of Elizabeth Wolfram '23
During this pandemic, Elizabeth Wolfram ’23 is wondering how her time in quarantine can be made more meaningful for her and her community: “I feel much more at ease knowing that I am doing something to try to help with everything that is going on.”
While it’s easier to sit back and wait for the storm to pass, Elizabeth noted, she called for students to directly face the issue and get involved. She wrote that a strong desire to “do something positive during this pandemic” and an abundance of time on their hands inspired her and her close friends Ivy and Theo Randall to found Students Against COVID-19, a fundraiser dedicated to helping local hospitals. In March, the trio got in contact with Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts to organize a food pantry for the employees.
“This pandemic is perhaps the most crucial event we will ever witness in our lifetime, and we can’t watch it unfold without taking a stand against it,” wrote Ivy.
On April 7, they gathered enough donations to place a large order of snacks and foods to support the employees both during work and at home via the Roche Bros delivery service. The order consisted of dry snacks doctors and other staff members can eat while working as well as non-perishable foods to take home. The second delivery arrived on April 23, and more are expected in the coming weeks.
“Many employees are having to work double shifts as their coworkers get sick and have to quarantine. This is why we are trying to help those on the front lines of this crisis,” Elizabeth explained. The hospital food pantry saves the employees the time and risk of having to go grocery shopping.
The students reached out to Christine Schuster, Chief Executive Officer of Emerson Hospital, and scheduled multiple calls with Jackie Clancy, Vice President of Marketing, and Leah Lesser, Public Relations Manager. Together, they helped set the project in motion.
Besides encouraging donations, Students Against COVID-19 is also asking people to consider simple acts of kindness, like making cards for local hospital employees or manufacturing masks at home (instructions are on the website). Since then, Elizabeth said she’s been in touch with Alisa Gulyansky ’24 and Eleanor Taggart ’24, who have been working on bringing food to hospitals and sewing masks for their own communities.
“One major takeaway is that we are always doing what we can,” Theo wrote. “Obviously, we are not researching a cure, and not funding the construction of a whole new hospital wing, but every bit helps.”
In addition, the Students Against COVID-19 website, Instagram, and Twitter are keeping people informed through easy-to-navigate lists and posts of reliable sources of COVID-19 information.
In the long-term, Elizabeth, Ivy, and Theo want to expand their project further than their local community by encouraging Groton students to pursue similar undertakings in their own hometown circles. They are also considering organizing a telethon (an online fundraising event, where performers try to catalyze as many donations) to raise extra money and possibly get Groton students involved. Elizabeth said she would be happy to advise anyone with plans in mind.
The students were also mentioned on the front page of the Concord Journal on April 7 and featured on Channel 5 news. Elizabeth said she was ecstatic when she found out: “It really helped a lot to get the word out. Up until then, we had had a decent amount of donations, but since then we have been getting a steady stream.”
As the project expands and accumulates more sponsors (like the Nashoba Brooks School), Students Against COVID-19 urges students to join in and make their own impact: whether by franchising the whole initiative or simply sewing masks and writing appreciation letters to hospital employees. “One of our goals with Students Against COVID-19 is to empower students at this unusual time,” Elizabeth wrote. “For us, helping hospital workers has helped a lot to make all of this feel more manageable. It feels really good to do something meaningful and helps a lot with all of the stress right now.”