COVID-19 may have forced schools to close, but it has also made many students determined to help their peers. Jerry Lin, a ninth grader at Ardrey Kell, recruited his brother Richard, an eighth grader at Jay M. Robinson and their friends Eric, Joshua and Matthew Cai to start a program called Cans for Kids at the end of March. One reason he felt strongly about this project was because their mother is a frontline nurse working at Atrium Health with Covid-19 patients.
"I wanted to aid CMS students and families that were in need during this pandemic," said Lin. "My family is fortunate to have steady income to afford food, but many other families in the area lost their jobs and some do not have food to feed their kids. Seeing the situation, I discussed with my friends and decided to donate as many cans of food as possible to those in need in the district."
They posted messages on social media platforms calling for CMS students to collect cans that would be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, then distributed to CMS families. So far, they have donated more than 200 pounds of non-perishable food. They continue to collect cans by placing small boxes in front of houses that display their organization name and would like more students to contribute to their cause.
Their eagerness to assist others did not stop there. After learning that many CMS workers and volunteers needed masks, they contacted the district's Community Partnerships and Family Engagement department to find out how they could help. The students contacted the Carolina Chinese American Civics Center, a non-profit organization, who provided them with 600 masks. They donated 300 to CMS and 300 to the Second Harvest Food Bank.