The never-ending COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in more ways than we can imagine. It has made simple tasks like running to the store very risky. Although many have the ability to just throw on a mask and gloves, it is not that easy for some. Two high school teens from Virginia saw this as a call to action. Akshath Mahajan of Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn, VA, and Maneesh Vallurupalli of John Champe High School in Aldie, VA teamed up to form Project Support Initiative — a nonprofit organization that deploys volunteers to go grocery shopping and pick up essentials for people who are elderly and immunocompromised.
There is nothing like seeing two young people doing their part to help out their community during a tough time. Mahajan came up with the idea to start the Public Support Initiative after speaking with an elderly mentor whose wife survived cancer. He was scared of grocery shopping because he didn’t want to bring the COVID-19 virus back to his wife. It was at that moment that Mahajan volunteered to go shopping for him so his mentor wouldn’t have to put himself or his wife at risk.
Public Support Initiative started very small with just Mahajan and Vallurupalli shopping in their local Northern Virginia community. They had no clue that it would have such an impact not just locally but globally as well. To date, Public Support Initiative has 220 dedicated volunteers, 22 national chapters, and has served over 1,300 seniors and people across their globe. They have also reached over $100,000 worth of groceries delivered. A small no-contact grocery delivery service that started in Loudoun County has inspired other teens and young people to get involved and put their own health at risk to help those in need. However, there is one thing that they are in need of and that is safety essentials. Public Support Initiative does not ask for cash donations but having the proper PPE would help them and their volunteers to sanitize properly and disinfect the grocery items.
WUSA 9 and Easterns Automotive Group team up for a monthly segment where they find people or organizations to highlight that doing tremendous work in the community. Joel Bassam of Easterns Automotive Group surprised Mahajan and Vallurupalli on a video call to express his appreciation and gratitude for the way they have come together to form Public Support Initiative. Bassam donated 1,000 units of PPE on behalf of Easterns for all of their current volunteers and any new ones that decide to come on board. If you would like to learn more about Public Support Initiative and how you can be a part of their movement, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/projectsup/home
To learn more about Easterns Automotive Group’s partnership with WUSA 9 and how they come together to empower the DMV community, please visit www.wusa9.com/BetterCommunity
YouTube Link – https://youtu.be/dy_Hm8Z67lE