As COVID-19 spread throughout the U.S. and impacted millions of people, Villanovans were preparing for an unprecedented fall semester and to abide by the CARITAS Commitment to ensure the safety of all students. Amid the uncertainty, Jasmine Mays, a senior at the University studying psychology and biology, decided to take matters into her own hands and help her community.
Mays not only led a food donation drive on June 19 in North Philadelphia, but she also founded the COVID Prevention Pantry on campus.
The COVID Prevention Pantry, or CPP, is an organization that distributes COVID-19 relief kits to students in need to ensure that everyone feels safe and equipped with necessary resources. The kits contain masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes, tissues, laundry detergent, tea, Theraflu, cough drops and eye drops.
CPP was launched in response to the wellness kits that the University distributed to all students upon arrival for the fall semester. Those kits included masks, hand sanitizer, a thermometer and wipes. Many students were afraid that they would need more supplies to keep the campus community safe but would not be able to afford them on their own.
“Fueled by their willingness to speak up and appreciative of what we were receiving from ’Nova, I decided that students needed a supplemental kit if things were going to be manageable,” Mays said on her GoFundMe page.
On Saturday, Aug. 22, Mays and the CPP gave out 100 supplemental relief kits to students who reserved them on the field near Tolentine Hall and Simpson Hall. The headquarters for the CPP is located in Simpson Hall and serves as a place where students can receive COVID-19 prevention supplies.
“To see this all come together not only made my heart feel full but also realize there is still more to be done,” Mays said in response to this successful event.
To do this work, the CPP is seeking donations to provide students with the resources needed to produce more COVID-19 relief kits. Mays created a GoFundMe page for the organization on July 29, 2020.
According to the University, within the first three days of the creation of the page, Mays raised over $1,500, which was half of her total goal of $3,000. Currently, she is close to reaching that goal, with approximately $200 left to go.
Mays has been working closely with the University’s Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA), the Office of Student Involvement and Student Life to spread information about the CPP among students.
Mays has also been using Instagram as a tool to receive feedback about the CPP and gain suggestions from students, as well as to promote the cause through the NovaNationer and NovaInsider Instagram accounts.
“Students need to know there is a place on campus that they can go to get items if they need them,” Mays said in closing on her GoFundMe page. “Your support would mean a lot to me on this as I am trying to make sure students are healthy and able to continue their studies this year.”