In a tweet on March 30, former President Barack Obama called a 7-year-old Ashburn-based student an “inspiring kid.”
So many Americans right now are stepping up to help their communities. Zohaib Begg, a 7-year-old from VA, is one of them. This inspiring kid has been gathering supplies from hotels to donate to the medical professionals at his local hospital. https://t.co/K8Pvp9Cyaq
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 30, 2020
Zohaib Begg went to a handful of hotels in the Northern Virginia area, with the help of his parents, and collected an estimated 6,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of masks, shower caps, gloves and more, with the intention of donating them all to local hospitals and front-line workers fighting the outbreak of COVID-19.
He has since donated most of the equipment to Inova Hospital System, where he spent three years of his childhood receiving treatment, and, according to an interview with WUSA9, thinks of his family members who work in hospitals often as his inspiration for the donations.
It turns out, Begg isn’t the only local student who has stepped up to answer the call of local front-line workers demanding more PPE.
With the help of a friend from New York, the teen aimed to organize those across the country who were also creating PPE at home and sharing their experiences on social media. Thus, the website and initiative was created to crowdsource personal protective equipment from individual makers to health care workers and first responders.
So far, members of the campaign have created and donated an estimated 2,400-plus items, and is gathering support from those looking to print or sew masks, deliver local items or fundraise, with a total goal of $40,000.
Not too far away in Kensington, Maryland, Georgetown Day School senior Jonah Docter-Loeb has also followed suit with his own DMV-based 3D-printing campaign, Print to Protect. The 17-year-old has gathered nearly 100 3D printers in and around the nation’s capital (most in individual homes) to create face shields for DMV hospitals.
As of April 23, the group estimates it has created 3,000 shields with a goal of finishing 10,000 by the end of the month, according to an interview with WTOP. It is now being run by a group of local students who have coordinated local drop-offs and more for the initiative.
Lastly, it doesn’t take a 3D printer to make those in-demand face masks everyone has been wearing around town. Gainesville-based fashion designer Skylar Raiyn Johnson (the 13-year-old founder of Sew Fly Sky) has been sewing fabric face masks to donate to local front-line workers since late March, and was recently featured in New York Times for Kids for her efforts.
In just a short month, she’s shipped over 2,000 donated masks.
So with all of these local students starting their own philanthropic movements, how can you help? Well, if you have a 3D printer or sewing machine at home, you can join Skylar, Aashray and Jonah by using your talents and materials to make as much PPE as you can, and donate them to local hospitals.
No at-home machinery? Don’t worry, you can also donate to local nonprofits and food banks at this time, and stay tuned here for more local ways to give back to the NoVA community.
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