Making an Impact During a Pandemic: An Emerging Leader 365 Volunteer’s Efforts Yields Thousands of Results
This blog post was written by Tiffany Go, an Emerging Leaders 365 volunteer. Tiffany started a diaper drive as part of ParentChild+ for the West African Community Council and set a goal of 1,000 diapers. She met her goal, and more.
When I saw the email from United Way Emerging Leaders 365 in my inbox on June 22nd, I knew this email felt different. The subject line “Racial injustice, food and COVID-19—it’s all connected, and you can help” caught my attention, and I immediately scanned for the volunteer section. That’s where I saw the need for volunteers to purchase or host a diaper drive, and I was in.
I’ve never had children, but being around diapers has always been familiar to me, as I’m from a large Filipino family. Growing up, I naively thought diapers were easily accessible and affordable for everyone.
After reading about the ParentChild+ program, I was motivated to collect as many diapers as possible. I was hosting this diaper drive virtually on Facebook and Instagram, so I wanted to keep my diaper drive goal realistic. I was also a little late signing up, so I set a reasonable goal to collect 1,000 diapers in July and crossed my fingers that I would be able to deliver on that.
I made my first virtual diaper drive post on social media on July 11th. Within hours, I received donations and contributions from my immediate family and friends to purchase 654 diapers. By the end of the next day, I had exceeded my goal and collected 2,526 diapers!
To continue the momentum and to highlight those who contributed, I made donation updates in real time and identified donors by name on social media. Virtual connection was the core of this diaper drive.
“The collective response was incredible. The more I engaged with my community and network, the more individuals responded”
Every time someone contacted me via Facebook, Instagram, text or phone call to donate, I posted on social media. I did shoutouts, posted photos of me with my donors—often my friends and family. I shared personal videos expressing appreciation and gratitude and rallying my community for more donations.
The collective response was incredible. The more I engaged with my community and network, the more individuals responded.
With the help of my network—my wonderful fiancé Colin who rallied alongside me, my family, friends, coworkers, previous colleagues, old professors, acquaintances, sisters from the woman-based Philanthropic Educational Organization chapter, and even strangers—I collected 12,423 diapers to benefit the families in the ParentChild+ program.
This overwhelming response wouldn’t have been possible without the compassionate and caring people in my life and within my network.
Hosting a diaper drive was unexpectedly life-changing. This experience afforded me an opportunity to reconnect and speak with many people I hadn’t seen or talked to for months and years. There were moments I was brought to tears when I saw someone reaching out to make a donation whom I never thought would be interested. At times, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of others and literally jumping for joy in happiness and gratitude during these moments.
It’s a challenging and stressful time for us. We continue to navigate a global pandemic as our country and communities face a reckoning on race. Families and individuals are struggling, suffering and hurting. Staying at home and distancing ourselves from one another has given us an unexpected, but necessary, time of introspection about our lives and privileges.
I believe the longing of connection, community, love, safety, responsibility, appreciation—of doing something meaningful and impactful—is why so many people in my network were willing to give.
There are many opportunities to be creative in how we can positively impact our communities from the safety of our homes and reconnect with one another. I firmly believe we are just one social media post away from accomplishing that.