Welcome! It’s been a while since our last blog post, but we’re so excited to announce that we have officially rebranded and registered as a New Jersey Domestic Nonprofit Organization. In this process of making CAPE a more active organization, we decided to conduct our first service project, a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Drive, to help our communities in the current pandemic.
As part of our rebranding, we wanted to extend our work from just racial equality to social equity overall, and completely change the system of operations that was in place before. We created and elected new board positions, straying away from the previous content-specific positions of Advocacy, Media, and Research directors to Co-Presidents, a Secretary, Creative Director, and Fundraising Director.
In addition, we initially had many issues with things like communication and involvement of members. We wanted to ensure that we had clear-cut missions and tasks to increase our efficacy as a group. This led us to design our project system, through which we plan on hosting monthly service projects to help as many parts of our communities as possible.
The project was designed mainly by our presidents Yena and Annabelle with Jun SSN in a meeting that was almost six hours long! As this would be our first project, we wanted to make sure it was for a meaningful cause, and that it was something every member could actively participate in. A detailed document outlining goals, due dates, tasks, and roles was made, and with a kick-off Zoom meeting with majority of our members, our first ever service project was up and running.
The first step of our project was advertising. We made our donation platforms and posted about the Drive on our social media accounts. We were able to get the word out quick, and even received close to $100 in monetary donations in just a few hours! With the support of many more generous donors, we collected a total of 2,000 face masks, 400 hand sanitizers, and close to $200, which was extremely encouraging for our members and our ideas for the future.
Following the collection of donations which spanned about a month, our officers met up to package these donations. In a process that took about three hours, masks and hand sanitizers were placed in individual bags along with a simple booklet that contained information about CAPE. This would spread the word about our organization and our mission. Now we were all ready to donate!
While we were successful in receiving donations and staying busy, a struggle we faced was not being able to contact anyone in need of donations. Our original goal regarding the donation process was to donate the PPE to individuals and families directly through advertisement, social media, and personal connections. However, we soon discovered that finding those in need of aid was difficult; because this was our first project, our contacts were very limited and the news of the Drive had not been reaching the ears of those who really needed our help.
We went back and forth on multiple conference calls trying to find different organizations and contacts to get the items into the hands of those who were genuinely struggling. After looking into organizations small and large, close and far, we were finally able to find a place in need of masks: a local municipal government.
We were able to get into contact with Mayor Chris Chung of Palisades Park to work out a donation! Our co-presidents Yena and Annabelle with Jun SSN visited the Palisades Park Borough Hall to deliver the items. Much to our (pleasant) surprise, we even found out that Mayor Chung had invited some members of the police department to come and participate in the donation process. After handing them the packages, we were able to introduce our organization and take some photos with the Mayor and officers.
Knowing that our items and efforts were helping First Responders and struggling community members, we trust that our hard work and our donors’ generosity were not in vain.
Thank you to everyone who helped us make this project the best it could be! Stay safe and healthy.
Written and Edited By:
Yena Choe, Co-President
Natalie Kim, Fundraising Director