Covid Cadets volunteer to help those in need


Courtesy of Christina DeFiore

RMHS sophomore Christina DeFiore (left) is joined by other RMHS students, helping the DMV community by volunteering with the Covid Cadets. The Covid Cadets collect donations from doorsteps and front porches, taking them to So What Else, an organization that donates toys, games, clothes and many more to low-income families in the area.

By Aliki Dimitoglou, Advertising and Subscriptions Manager

Everyone is asking about Covid-19. Where did it start? What can I do to stay safe? What will happen to my business and family? How can I help? There is an answer to the last question: students from around MCPS have stepped in to help their community, through a volunteer program called the Covid Cadets. 

“Covid Cadets is an organization that reaches out to neighborhoods within our community asking them to donate canned foods, clothes, cleaning supplies or anything that lower-income families would need during this time,” WCHS sophomore and Covid Cadet Henry Gordon said. 

Volunteers from Montgomery County have offered to help out those in need. Although the Cadet program originally started at Richard Montgomery High School, students from WCHS and Walter Johnson High School are also working to give back. 

“One of my biggest passions is service and giving back to the community,” RMHS sophomore and Covid Cadet Christina DeFiore said. “I have been a Girl Scout since I was in kindergarten, which has opened many doors to volunteering opportunities.”

The work that it takes to give back to the community has never been easy, especially during a pandemic. However, with weekly Zoom meetings on Thursdays, strong communication within the organization, advertising on social media, and the following of social distancing measures, the Covid Cadets get the job done and give to those in need. 

“We give our donations to So What Else, and they package and deliver the goods to over 80 low-income areas in the DMV,” Gordon said. 

Before the pandemic, So What Else, a non-profit organization, was focused on being an afterschool program for kids in the area. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the organization adapted and created an Emergency Response Team. They partnered with groups of volunteers such as the Covid Cadets to help provide for low-income families most affected by the pandemic.

“We partnered with Dave Silbert, co-founder of non-profit ‘So What Else’,” DeFiore said. “We work with Dave and his coworkers to plan out what specific items are in high demand each Friday, and send out an advertisement via many social media platforms every Monday.”

Information about donations, drives and volunteering is found on the Facebook and Instagram pages of So What Else. Although quarantine has physically distanced everyone, it is important to be able to maintain close relationships, along with creating new ones. 

“Not only is it great helping, but it’s a lot of fun since I get to see a bunch of my friends during quarantine,” Gordon said.

As a generation who has spent so much time on social media, the news of lockdowns, restrictions and learning about what the world has to offer while stuck inside, has led students to realize that quarantine is not just an opportunity to sit and wait for it to end.

“For this particular project, I have constantly seen on the news or witnessed from friends and family people suffering under this time of crisis due to whatever circumstance,” DeFiore said. “My mom and I are fortunate enough to still be on our feet, so what better thing to do then help those who need our support?”

Support is exactly what the world needs at this time, whether it is checking in with loved ones via Zoom or donating and delivering needed supplies to low-income families. Volunteering not only helps those in need, but volunteers gain skills and memories that will last them a lifetime. 

“Since starting this project, it has opened my eyes,” DeFiore said. “I have seen the smiles on people’s faces when receiving donations. It is a truly heart-warming and humbling experience.”

Everyone in the community is trying to help out in any way they can, whether it is sewing and delivering masks or picking up needed supplies and delivering them to low-income families.

“Churchill students can become more involved by spreading the word!” DeFiore said. “Advertise on social media, post on neighborhood list servers, put flyers in mailboxes, anything to get the word out!”  

Contact [email protected] or add Covid Cadets on Facebook to donate or sign up to volunteer.