Strengthening the Community

Before I started the drive, I had to decide on a few things first. What am I going to donate? Who am I going to donate to? I decided to find an organization and research what items they needed before choosing what to donate. It wouldn’t be very convenient if I donated toys when the organization has ample toys. So, I took a few days to decide what community I should donate to. I reached out by email to a couple of NPOs(Non-Profit Organizations) like shelter homes. My first priority was to contribute to NPOs focused on children. One of them said they only accepted checks, but I wanted to donate food/toys for my first drive instead of money. It was then that I found The Long Beach Rescue Mission who helps children and adults. I sent an email to them and had a call with them, saying who I was and what I wanted to do to help them. They had a list of items they needed on their website and informed me what else was required on the call as well, which was helpful. The response that they gave was that they were happy to get help from me.

The next step was to spread the word. I needed to get the word out about the drive. I could tell my friends to say to their friends and so on, but that would take too long. So, I made a poster for the drive. I had my mom post the picture on her phone to friends, help me put the posters around my apartment building. If there were no Covid-19, I would have sent the poster to my school classmates and collected the items, but people from my apartment building generously donated many things, so that was nice. Some family friends around Torrance also donated to support the cause.

However, since I had used barrels to collect the items, and because I left them near the doors of the apartment building, I didn’t look after the barrels all the time. I only visited the barrels when I went to collect the items. So, I had no idea which person gave what, which eliminated the need to create a donation tracking spreadsheet. Instead, I made thank you notes and put them in each barrel to show my gratitude to the people who donated.

I roughly collected 4 barrels of food, toys, clothes, etc.

The most challenging part for me in the drive was not being able to reach out to as many people as I would have liked. While we received quite a lot of donations, perhaps we could have gotten more if Covid was not in the way.

 

I want to express my gratitude to everyone for their time spent in the donations. I hope all the donations will help the people in need. I have never done any community drive before, but Empower And Help gave me a chance to learn how to conduct one. The Empower And Help team was encouraging me every step of the way. Thank you very much!

Sharing my experience, I wanted to give some tips and tricks for running a drive:

  1. Don’t decide what you would like to donate first; choose who you’re going to donate for, and then let them tell you what they need.
  2. Make an exciting flyer. When someone looks at your flyer, they shouldn’t ignore it. Make it nice and colorful, and add pictures regarding who you’re donating to.
  3. Give updates on the drive to those who donated by sharing pictures of the donations and thank you notes.
  4. When your drive is over and you’re dropping the items off, take a picture so that the donators know you gave the things.

 

[By  Saisha Amrutham, is Empower And Help Student Ambassador from California]

 

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