This was our first year participating in the Empower And Help Ambassador Program and our first time conducting a community drive for a non-profit. We decided to run our community drive for a local non-profit organization Casa Freehold in Freehold, NJ. We chose Casa Freehold as we are already familiar with its mission and work. Their mission is to lay down a foundation for empowerment so that immigrants can learn how to address their needs and assist others as they integrate into the community. Casa Freehold offers opportunities to immigrant community members.
The first step was to make a flyer that let others know what we were doing. Then print out the flyers to give to people, hang them in places, and share them on social media. Using a flyer can quickly help promote the drive to more places and people, making our overall outcome more significant. The flyer provides a visual way to let people know what we are collecting and where the donations will go. If we use a flyer, we could hand it to people, and they will remember the organization’s dates and times, needs, and details. Having a flyer makes it efficient. We distributed them on social media and to local stores.
We placed boxes at our local Kumon center and Karate center. We reached out to friends and family. One of our friend’s dads is a dentist, and dental hygiene items were on the list. They generously donated a whole bag of toothbrushes and toothpaste. We received around two big boxes of donations from our local Karate center. We organized all the items into plastic bags with the help of our cousins who were visiting. After sorting the items, we dropped the things at Casa Freehold. We sorted, organized, and placed them nicely on the table.
This community drive was a fun and humbling experience for us in a variety of ways. We both learned the skills of collaborating because it was our first time doing something big together. We built the confidence to ask people to donate items. We also learned skills for leading a drive because we had to gather and organize things for a specific non-profit. We worked with new software tools like Canva and Grammarly to design our flyer.
Due to Covid, we had to take extra precautions to make the drive safe. Like wearing face masks and keeping our distance. After letting the items sit for a while, we went through them to ensure they were on the list. Following that, we chose a day when we would be the only ones at the charity to drop off the items. This way, no extra precautions had to be taken aside from wearing our masks.
To conclude, we would like to share some tips from our community drive experience:
- Due to the ongoing pandemic, please wear your mask all the time while interacting with people. Wear gloves when touching the items.
- Schedule a time with people from the organization to drop the items and have some extra help.
- Label and neatly pack the things in a box, so it is easy to carry.
- Be patient with the drive.
- Communicate well as to why you are doing the drive and what you need for the drive.
[By Aditi Gupta and Yash Ghayal, are Empower And Help Student Ambassador 2021 from New Jersey]