Gen Z's Making a Huge Difference in COVID-19 Relief—Here's Who You Should Know
One of the biggest things we've learned amid this deadly coronavirus pandemic is that anyone can come out a hero.
Doctors, grocery store clerks and delivery people, among others, have remarkably put their lives on the line without initial warning, but we also want to recognize others who have the blessing of working from home and out of harm's way, yet choose to get out there and make a difference.
Gen Z, in particular, has already made remarkable strides in COVID-19 relief efforts, and we have to give their selfless acts the recognition they deserve. We chatted with two key players—here's who and what you need to know, and how you can contribute to their causes.
Mira Kwon, Zoomers to Boomers (organization that delivers groceries to senior citizens amid coronavirus)
Sweety High: How did Zoomers to Boomers come to be? How did the group come together, and how did it pick up media attention?
Mira Kwon: Zoomers to Boomers was founded by a teen in Santa Barbara, Daniel Goldberg. My aunt sent me an article about it and I decided to reach out to him so I could start a branch in Los Angeles. Once we began spreading the word about starting Zoomers to Boomers, a bunch of high schoolers from across the city began to reach out and volunteer to help. I reached out to our local newspaper, Larchmont Buzz, and they wrote an article about our service. As our service grew, we were even highlighted by NPR, LAist, and other newspapers and radio stations.
SH: What have been the most and least challenging parts of the process?
MK: The most challenging part of the process has been trying to spread the word to elderly and immunocompromised communities. As high schoolers, we find it difficult to reach the senior community with previous outreach tactics. Social media campaigns and online press don't necessarily apply here. We've been working with neighborhood councils, senior centers and housing facilities, non-profits, newspapers, radios, and word-of-mouth to spread our service.
The least challenging part has been recruiting volunteers. So many awesome teens and their parents have reached out to us, and we're all so proud of the activist spirit within our own communities.
SH: Take our readers through your system and how it works.
MK: THIS document outlines the delivery portion of our service from the driver's perspective.
We've partnered with local produce shops around Los Angeles so we can support small businesses and stay safe and efficient. By partnering with these shops, we're able to order in advance and pick up produce when it's ready, with little to or no contact with anyone. Then we can drop it off at the senior's doorstep.
To order, all the seniors have to do is go to zoomerstoboomers.com and click on whichever city pertains to them. Then they'll be directed to our website where they can view all of our partner shops and place an order. Seniors can also call us at (323) 364-5878 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.
SH: Who are the people at the forefront of the L.A. group?
MK: I'm in charge of the Hancock Park/Koreatown branch, and I reach out to a lot of the press and communicate with our produce stands.
Sadie Weil is one of the co-leaders of the Hollywood-Valley branch and is responsible for confirming all deliveries with our customers, explaining the drop-off process and coordinating our drivers.
Lexi Gluck is one of the co-leaders of the Hollywood-Valley branch and created our Zoomers to Boomers website where customers can place orders. She's also responsible for all things finance.
Eva Rogovin works with our Beverly Hills/Westwood branch, which we're just launching. She's helping with outreach there.
We all also drive and have a team of volunteers who do pickups and deliveries.
SH: What's the mission of the organization?
MK: We're a team of young people trying to help out the community by delivering groceries to our elderly and immunocompromised neighbors while supporting local businesses in the process.
Jesse Kay, Makin' Lemonade (fund that raises money for COVID relief, with donations going to Feeding America, the CDC Foundation, and Direct Relief Fund)
Sweety High: How did Makin' Lemonade (and its name) come to be?
Jesse Kay: I'm a 19-year-old sophomore and entrepreneur at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and my friend Alex Sheinman and I started this project just over three weeks ago. Alex is a recent graduate of Penn State who founded the PSU Sports Business Conference. We remember the days of making our own lemonade stands to help the community, and always loved the hustle. As it's impossible to create a "real" lemonade stand, we decided to take action so every student around the nation can make their own "virtual lemonade stand" to support our cause from their own bedrooms.
SH: In your own words, please explain the fund and exactly where its earnings will go.
JK: We started our initiative on April 7 and quickly grew our team with over 200 students, entrepreneurs, athletes, politicians and young professionals representing over 70 universities, including Michigan, Miami, Cornell, Penn State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State, Wake Forest and Rutgers. To keep the community active, we have nightly Zoom calls at 9 p.m., open to any interested new members to recap the day and plan future campaigns.
We recently partnered with a variety of fraternities and sororities at schools across the nation to raise money using bingo boards, which has raised over $10,000 so far from 20 groups with over 40 new organizations getting on-boarded today. We have also partnered with local politicians including Nassau County, New York legislator Josh Lafazan.
In just one week, our motivated team of college students raised over
$23,000 towards our goal of $100,000, with 430+ donors and an average donation size of $40. Our proceeds are going to benefit Feeding America, the CDC Foundation, and Direct Relief
SH: What's been the most challenging part of getting this off the ground? What's been the least challenging?
JK: The least challenging and most inspiring part of this project has been the incredible passion displayed by the students and young professionals involved! We have hundreds of students taking hours out of their days to contribute and support our cause. The most challenging has been the logistics of coordinating everyone's schedules to be as efficient as possible. However, 9 p.m. nightly meetings seem to be most effective.
SH: What's surprised you most about the whole experience?
JK: How incredible Gen Z is, and the power of social media. Through exclusively pushing our project through social media and college students, we've raised over $22,000 in 10 days!
SH: Anything else you want people to know about Makin' Lemonade or how they can help during these crazy times?
JK: We'd appreciate any support, both financially and in joining the team. You can donate at bit.ly/lemonadefund, or get involved on social media @makinlemonadefund on Instagram, and @makinlemonfund on Twitter.
Seeking more positivity amid coronavirus chaos? Click HERE for five ways to look on the bright side during these dark times.