Kate Devries, 17, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a junior at Cumberland Valley High School, founded a nonprofit organization that delivers groceries and other supplies to those at high risk for COVID-19, provides face shields for medical workers and the local community, and collects medical supplies for clinics and hospitals. When Kate’s school went into a COVID-19 lockdown, she suddenly had plenty of time on her hands. While watching the national news one night, she learned about a charity in New York City where volunteers “had taken matters into their own hands” to help their community. “There was a lot of fear and confusion,” said Kate. “Many people, especially the elderly, didn’t want to leave their homes. Businesses couldn’t get their hands on PPE. I thought it was important to try to help.”
She decided to start “Cumberland Valley Cares” to build a group of committed volunteers to help others. First, she created a website where people could request help, sign up to volunteer, or make a donation. Then she distributed fliers explaining her service at grocery stores and pharmacies, and called local schools to seek volunteers. Things were slow at first, but after a local television station broadcast a story about her initiative, requests started pouring in. As founder of the organization, Kate manages the website and stays in touch with volunteers through frequent meetings and a newsletter. When she found out that local healthcare workers desperately needed face shields, she partnered with a local manufacturer to make them. Since she started, her team of 30 volunteers has provided more than 1,000 face shields to individuals, medical offices and businesses, and has completed more than 100 other deliveries of groceries and protective gear to those in need.