Creating positivity in the Middle of a Pandemic by Jake Draluck
to the pandemic, probably like most of you, I was keeping up an intense
schedule which will sound familiar: classes, sports, clubs, friends and a ton
of homework. Then the pandemic hit in March 2020, my school abruptly closed its
doors, and I was unexpectedly stuck at home with tons of free time and nothing
particularly relevant to do. With the TV on all the time in my kitchen, I heard
Governor Pritzker mandate that face coverings be worn in all public places, and
I began to wonder how everyone in the Chicago area would be able to get masks
when, back in May, they had become so difficult to find at any price?
I researched this topic, I confirmed that Illinois’ mask order did not provide
any funding for people who could not afford or obtain masks on their own.
Because my Dad is a doctor and we had access to masks early on, I contacted
some of the local food pantries to see if I could be helpful in getting masks
to their clients. In my conversations with these organizations, I learned that
not only was the lack of access to masks causing anxiety for pantry clients,
but that pandemic-related unemployment had created a large demand for other
basic hygiene products—items like deodorant, razors, toothpaste, and other
necessities were often overlooked by donors, even though these essential items
had become impossibly expensive for those who had lost their jobs.
I learned that hygiene products, including masks, cannot be purchased with SNAP
Cards or through any other government assistance programs, and that so few
people are aware of this problem, I created a nonprofit organization called We
Got You to try to become part of the solution. So far We Got You has
donated over 6500 hygiene products, hygiene kits and laundry kits to people in
our Chicago area community who have been struggling to afford them, and we have
partnered with several social impact organizations to help us get these items
distributed to those in need.
visit us at www.wegotyoualways.org to learn more about our
mission to see how you can help! If you like our message and are looking for an
easy way to be involved, please consider hosting a hygiene product drive at
your school or synagogue or youth group—we would be happy to pick up any
donations that you have, and we accept any size items—from travel size to full
size. If you know how to make masks, please consider donating homemade masks to
us for distribution with our other supplies!
you have your own idea for a project, I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed and
not know where to start. When in doubt, my advice is to start small, start
local, and work your way up from there. Any amount of positive change you can
make in the world will help someone, somewhere, and is worth making!
is a junior at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he is a member
of the Boys Crew Team, Exeter Jewish Community (EJC), Investment Club,
Economics Club, and Exeter Student Service Organization, among other clubs, and
serves as a Proctor for the Exeter Film Department. In Chicago, Jake is a
rowing instructor at the Alliance Rowing Club of Chicago, and is a Diller Teen
Fellow (2018-2019 Cohort). He is also the founder and President of Deadstock
Chicago, a sneaker and streetwear resale company.