A group of Dartmouth College students created a program that matches essential workers in need with people who are willing to donate household items and other basic necessities. Roommates Amy Guan and Rine Uhm came up with the idea as their spring and summer plans were falling apart and Give Essentialwas born.
"We ended up losing internships, I lost my in-person graduation, but at the same time, it was hard to be sad about these losses with everything else going around in the world. We would spend a lot of time reading the news and sharing stories that we found interesting about the risks and struggles that essential workers have been facing.The more we read, the more we realized that there was a lack of access to basic necessities that a lot of other people might have lying around their house or might have panic-bought at the beginning of the pandemic".
Give Essential works by having donors and essential workers sign up and indicate what they can provide or what they need. The Give Essential team verifies the worker is eligible for help and then matches them with an appropriate donor. It’s mostly a one-time donation, but some donors have requested to send their donor shipments every other week. So far, the program has reached 12-thousand essential workers and donors and has raised the equivalent of almost $500-thousand in donations.
Donors can chose from six categories — cleaning supplies, masks, personal hygiene products, feminine hygiene products, kids' activities, and gift cards.
"We've been able to see how much of a difference one small gift or gesture can make,” Guan explains. “Being willing to speak out, act and do something — no matter how small — can make a really big difference."