As COVID-19 cases are spiking, it seems that the pandemic has not yet loosened its grip on the world. However, that did not stop Random Acts supporter Elizabeth Sue Wake from safely bringing her community together to meet the needs of the unhoused in her area. Elizabeth teamed up with a group of dedicated high schoolers in Nashville, Tennessee to assemble and distribute backpacks filled with supplies to people experiencing homelessness.
Elizabeth, the founder of the group Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives, which organizes youth volunteers to help those in need, had big plans to help the unhoused in Nashville. Despite some roadblocks caused by COVID-19, Elizabeth’s large scale plan came together beautifully. Much of the planning took place over several Zoom calls, and the project was a little delayed after several students had to quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19. Once it was safe to do so, the first step was gathering supplies. The students collected supplies like snacks, toiletries, and winter gear. Then the assembly of the backpacks was carefully choreographed with the students splitting into two groups to stay physically distanced from each other. Of course, great care was taken to keep everyone safe. Mask wearing and hand washing or sanitizing was diligently practiced by everyone involved. Once all of the backpacks were full of supplies, they were ready for the final step: distribution!
Over the course of two days, Elizabeth and the students distributed 100 out of the 150 total backpacks containing blankets, snacks, toiletries, winter gear, and handwritten notes of encouragement to people experiencing homelessness in Nashville. Although they would have liked to get closer to the recipients of the backpacks, everyone was mindful of the safety precautions they had to follow. Despite the physical distance, the experience was a positive one for all involved. The backpacks were greatly appreciated, and the students were proud of the impact they made. The remaining 50 backpacks were distributed later, with Elizabeth and several other members of the group storing them in their cars and handing them out to people in need.