Reaching the Marginalized in a Pandemic
As the world went on lockdown, Valor students faced this past Spring with purpose. In the midst of the pandemic, they looked around for what they could do and found comfort in serving. “I was looking for ways to get service hours, and I saw that helping a food bank was an option,” said Tucker Shearn (‘23). Along with sister, Brynn (‘24), their parents and Cameron Connor (‘23), they prepared 2,000 sack lunches for the homeless in downtown Denver.
Alisabeth Shearn, mother of Tucker and Brynn, said that before the pandemic, her kids’ sports schedules kept the family busy six days a week. “When COVID shut down everything, we were interested in finding a way to utilize our unexpected free time to serve the community from home.”
Recognizing that the need for food and shelter was only increasing as unemployment numbers rose, the Shearns made a plan and began purchasing supplies to make lunches to deliver to Volunteers of America’s (VOA) Meals on Wheels program.
“When we started making lunches for the VOA in April, everyone was locked down at home,” explains Tucker, who has taken 15 trips downtown and worked over 100 hours collectively with Brynn and Cameron to help provide VOA with the donations they have needed to keep their doors open. “As we would drive to the food bank, we would see a ton of homeless tents, and when the other food banks closed, a larger group of people would go to the specific food bank I was helping. Seeing all those tents on the side of the road gave the magnitude of how many people I was helping by taking a couple of hours out of my weekends. ”
Cameron valued the opportunity to serve alongside his peers when many other service opportunities ground to a halt. “I’m a big fan of service, but during COVID I had trouble finding opportunities. When they (Tucker and Brynn) asked me to do it, I was very happy.”
Through the continued service, Cameron says, “I’ve learned that there is always a time to serve, and that even in the midst of something like this, you can always find a way to help people.”
Tucker, Brynn, and Cameron received approval from Discovery to count their hours from this project towards their graduation requirements of 100 service hours. Valor utilizes a program called Helper Helper to track and record service hours. Helper Helper is simple & easy to use and can be accessed online or via a mobile App. More information about Helper Helper, as well as The Discovery Program, Local Service Opportunities, and Pre-Approved Organizations can be found on our website.