Remember To Serve

While we are in a time of uncertainty, community service is more important than ever.


Illustration by Lainey Holland

It is easy to feel discouraged when most of us have had to completely readjust our lifestyle within the past week. All of a sudden, ‘social distancing’ has become a part of our regular vocabulary, and we are experts on staying home and doing nothing. Since I have had so much time to rethink the way I view the world, I have realized it is important for us to not lose sight of our human connection, even if we have to stay cooped up in our homes. Now, more than ever, we must continue to serve the community –– maybe just in different ways than we did pre-coronavirus! 

You may be thinking, “Community service? That is pretty risky when we are supposed to be staying home!” Let me assure you, I am not advocating for people to leave their homes and interact with everyone they possibly can in the name of service. Rather, there are many ways we can begin to serve that limit our contact with other people. 

I am a part of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Louisville, a service organization my friend Andrew Dunn, a junior at duPont Manual High School, started when we were in fifth grade. We focus on how we can perform random acts of kindness and epic acts of service by collaborating with grassroots organizations. They tell us their needs, and we reach out to the community to get the resources and support to help them. While our efforts most often go toward helping the homeless and stocking food pantries across the city, we are finding unique ways to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 14, we felt called to help students, families, and people at homeless shelters who need something to supplement meals that they might be receiving less frequently. We put out a post asking people to pick up some extra items at the grocery store to make snack bags. My dad and I went to Costco to buy mini water bottles, fruit snacks, apple sauce, goldfish packs, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and gallon-sized Ziploc bags. The next day, my mom and I assembled 44 snack bags in just 10 minutes! Other people in the community have also contributed to our snack bag drive, but there are other organizations really stepping up and serving, too. For example, Northeast Christian Church called for the congregation to assemble 15,000 snack packs for people in need. 

RAK Louisville also received requests from different social workers for puzzles, playing cards, pencils, and notebooks. These items will go to elderly people who need to stay indoors and students who need supplies to complete their school work. The great thing about this service project is that most people already have these items at home –– no need to leave the house except to drop them off at a site arranged with RAK Louisville.   

Not only does serving offer some relief from our cabin fever, it focuses our energy in a way that is beneficial to others. So, if you find yourself with nothing to do these next few weeks, I urge you to reach out to an organization that is serving in a way that you admire. RAK Louisville would love your help, but there are plenty of other organizations in need of assistance. Find what you are passionate about and get connected! Whether it is making snack bags, collecting items for nursing homes, or running errands for your elderly neighbor, every bit goes toward making this time of uncertainty more bearable for those in need. While we may not be able to easily see or control the course of this virus, we can control the way we treat people and uplift those who need help in our community.