15-year-old Shaivi Shah from California is helping the homeless, an oft-overlooked community, during the Coronavirus epidemic.
In the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic, there are some pockets of communities that are more at risk than others, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. While some of us can opt to self-isolate, what about those who are homeless and have no place to quarantine themselves? It may be impossible to solve America's homelessness problem now, especially during a public health crisis, but one teen in California is showing us all how we can do our little bit to help out. Through creating and distributing Coronavirus "sanitation kits," Shaivi Shah, 15, from Rancho Santa Margarita is helping hundreds of homeless folks, CNN reports.
The idea first came to Shaivi when she heard a speech by California Governor Gavin Newsom about the reality of homelessness in the Golden State. On any given day, more than 150,000 Californians are living in homelessness, as per the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Unfortunately, this is the highest of any state in America. The teenager, a student at Tesoro High School, feared that the homeless would be forgotten during the Coronavirus epidemic. She stated in an interview with CNN, "They don't have necessities right now that are crucial to remain clean and stay germ-free." Therefore, she recruited a group of her fellow classmates who are members of their school's honor society and decided to do something about it.
The group got together and assembled "sanitation kits," which included hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, lotion, and reusable masks. The students then distributed 150 of these kits to three homeless shelters located in the city of Los Angeles. While those communities were grateful for all of Shaivi and her friends' help, the teenagers weren't ready to just stop there. The 15-year-old is now looking to expand her program so she can reach more people who are in need of her sanitation kits. In order to achieve her goal, she has started a fundraiser on GoFundMe. She intends to use all the donations she earns to provide sanitation kits to homeless folks across California as well as the United States. "These people that are living on the streets, they have no protection, she said. "So even a small amount could help."
COVID-19 Sanitation Kit for the Homeless Community https://t.co/dNRduoEvoy— Justin McLachlan (@justinmclachlan) March 19, 2020
Shaivi hopes her actions inspire others. She shared, "It's important for people to step in and just do whatever they can, even if it helps just one person." Though this is her first time distributing sanitation kits, she has been actively involved in community service in the past. Just last year, she raised thousands of dollars for a local homeless shelter when she performed at a dance recital. She said that her desire to help others is rooted in a deep feeling of gratitude. "Imagine yourself in their shoes, without a house, without clothes, without any sanitation," she explained. "That'll make you be grateful for what you have, and possibly donate and do something good for the other people."
If you want to take a leaf out of her book, you can visit her GoFundMe page and make a donation. She has a goal of raising $15,000, of which she has already raised over $13,000. Others who have wanted to help in some way have left comments, expressing their gratitude to Shaivi for starting this altruistic initiative. Catherine Bogi, for instance, donated $20 and wrote, "I have a regular cold and have been in my apartment wondering what I can do to really help and this is it. So thank you so much for helping me help others! When I am better I would love to join you. Much love." When everyone comes together, we can make a greater impact.