By ERIC NOLL and KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Americans have celebrated essential workers keeping the country going during the coronavirus pandemic and now a new platform is giving back to those on the front lines.
A group of Dartmouth College students started Give Essential, which links donors with essential workers struggling to make ends meet.
Since the nonprofit first launched in April, Give Essential has reached over 15,000 essential workers and donors in 49 states with nearly $500,000 in donations.
Please share these stories from essential workers with your family, friends, and coworkers. Even a small donation can make a difference! pic.twitter.com/i24tx3iPn9
— Give Essential (@GiveEssential) July 2, 2020
The service compiles boxes of household items that donors already own to be packaged up and delivered to personnel on the front lines.
Pat, a nurse in Garden Grove, California, who asked ABC News not to share her last name, received a delivery that included groceries and masks.
Cindy Shen from Salt Lake City shared her reason for donating with World News Tonight anchor David Muir in a video message.
“I wanted to help a firefighter and his 2-year-old son, because I wanted to give back to the essential workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic every single day,” she told ABC News.
A California-based delivery man, Gabriel Garciasalas, told Muir how much the donation service meant to him as well.
“Throughout this whole pandemic, I have been working pretty much full time as a Door Dash driver,” he said. “So just the help that they were able to give me — I am very, very grateful.”
Alyssa Henry from Dallas, Pennsylvania, took the opportunity to express her thanks in a video.
“I am a tractor-trailer loader and Give Essential has made an impact on my life. I was given baby clothes for my son,” Henry said. “I want to thank the donators so much.”
Luiza Odhiambo, a junior at Dartmouth who helped create Give Essential, told Muir in a message on World News Tonight why they’re doing this work.
“I personally come from a family of essential workers and I heard firsthand form nurses, grocery store clerks and others about how difficult it was for them,” she explained. “So Give Essential for me was a way to help people like my family.”
The team also said they vow to keep it going.
“These problems are not necessarily COVID issues,” said Give Essential co-founder Amy Guan. “Nobody should ever have to choose between buying soap and being able to feed their kids for the week. So as long as we can fulfill these needs and create these resource matches, we will continue to do so.”
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