JERSEY CITY, NJ - A little over a year ago, the world encountered an invisible enemy; COVID-19. The virus affected everyone in different ways, some more tragic than others. 

It's hard enough to explain to young children why the virus was a threat, and how life will change in order to keep everyone safe. The lockdowns weren't easy. Kids wanted to see their friends and family, and the new normal of mask wearing and social distancing were sad but necessary rules to enforce. Many people lost loved ones, or knew someone who did.

In April 2020, Emma Rodriguez, a first grade student at JCGCS, lost her great grandmother to the coronavirus.

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A year later, half a million people fell ill and were taken away. Frontline and essential workers risked and continue to risk their health and lives to help their fellow citizens. Communities continue to thank them for their selflessness and aid.

While watching the news one day, Emma overheard the word "stimulus."  She asked what it was. I explained that many people were out of jobs, and needed help to pay for things like food, rent and bills. The money would be given to people through a bank or the mail. Her response was immediate; "What about the people who don't have a place to live?"

It takes an innocent and caring mind of a 6-year-old to ask a deep question like that. With children, there are no politics, no race, no class; humans are humans, community is community. After telling her that most if not all of the homeless, sadly, will not receive that help, she felt that it fell on us to help them. "Then we should give them something to help!" Emma said.

Her idea was the inspiration to organize a charity drive where people could donate items and food to create care bags for our brothers and sisters who do not have a home. Through a small Facebook page, we spread the word. Friends, family and strangers alike contacted us and sent items for us to organize and distribute.

After almost a month of collecting items, we were able to assemble nearly 80 care packages. Items like flashlights, first aid, PPE, gloves, hats, socks, personal hygiene items and non-perishable food were gathered and bagged up.

We teamed up with Hudson Valley Midnight Run, a small charity that has been giving out food and items since the start of the pandemic, to help get these bags into the hands of those in need.

This small act of kindness is a testament to humanity's innate desire to help one another. Our hope is that this story inspired you to have faith, help your fellow man/woman and reach for the stars as we continue to battle the virus, and no doubt succeed.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Jersey City Global Charter School.

This story was written by Emma's father, Gabriel Rodriguez. It was sent to us by Emma's Teacher at JCGCS, Natalie Valdivia.

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