–– “Stick with what you are doing and don’t give up.”
Written by CAPA-JRC Reporter Lucy Wu
Speaking of angels, you might think of white figures, bringing fantasies of hope everywhere they go. In fact, we are currently surrounded by these radiant angels. Wearing white medical uniforms, they hurry back and forth in crowded corridors every day, fighting the virus with their lives. Yes, those on the medical frontlines are our angels, and at the same time, they need to eat, just like us. This may be the only difference between them and the angels.
Aileen Qi, a freshman at Montgomery Blair High School, has also noticed this
difference. On March 26, Aileen launched an online fundraising campaign called “Aid the Angels” via GoFundMe. 100% of the funds raised on the virtual fundraising platform will be used to buy meals for ICU staff from locally-owned restaurants in the DMV. So far, “Aid the Angels” has raised $2,550 and made four deliveries to ICU staff in Silver Spring. In total, 88 meals have been donated to the Holy Cross Hospital.
After hearing about the coronavirus-related crises in New York City, Aileen had
originally planned to donate masks to the hospitals there. However, due to the strict regulations of hospitals, Aileen realized that she needed to change her plan. “By thinking about all the possible ways that I could help, the idea of food came to my mind. [Purchasing food] can also help the devastated local restaurants, [in response to] the inquiry that there are eight million newly unemployed restaurant workers in the US,” said Aileen.
In addition, Aileen works especially toward aiding ICU nurses. “I think they are very inspiring, [as] they put their lives in danger to save other people on the frontlines,” Aileen said.
The spirit of the ICU staff motivated Aileen to turn her idea into actions. First, Aileen began the online fundraising, raising a considerable amount in monetary donations for her first delivery. Then, Aileen reached out to Holy Cross Hospital, a local hospital in possession of the largest number of ICU beds in the area. After the hospital confirmed the meal delivery request, Aileen wrote down a list of restaurants that were willing to deliver meals. She ultimately chose to purchase from Fontina Grille and East Pearl Restaurant, as they could provide the need for a variety of foods. Finally, Aileen arranged the times with the hospital and the restaurants.
When the ICU staff received the meals, they expressed how much they appreciated all the fundraising efforts and thought that what Aileen had done was amazing. “I think all my hard work has paid off, and all the challenges I have overcome are worthy,” said Aileen. At the beginning of her fundraising, Aileen first started to promote “Aid the Angels” on Instagram. However, the advertising was not very effective and made her doubt her fundraising abilities. “It was a difficult time,” she confessed, “but my parents inspired me to not give up, motivated me, and helped me promote on WeChat.” Furthermore, Aileen also advertised “Aid the Angels” on Instagram by compiling a short video that contained clips from various news reports. Each of the clips show the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis. The clips were followed by Aileen’s self-given speech, which explained the cause of “Aid the Angels” and promoted donations toward this drive. This time, the Instagram advertising was very successful.
“Stick with what you are doing and don’t give up.” Aileen said. “Even if the result you hope for doesn't come in the beginning, it is important to keep going. Your generosity and kind-heartedness will make a difference and in the end, you will find that all that work and thoughts will pay off.”
For the youth who are willing to relieve the community during this unprecedented time, Aileen advised sincerely: “Just go for it! Don’t be afraid to fail. And if you don’t succeed at first, don’t be discouraged.” Persistence is one of the most important things that Aileen has learned during this process.
To donate and learn more about Aileen’s fundraising Aid the Angels, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/aidtheangels. You can also follow and contact her on Instagram: @aileenqi_
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.