“All it Takes is One Step”

school-pictureLocal Teenager Raises Nearly $1600 To Feed Hungry Families in Trenton

For the first time in recent history, there is one sentiment people across the globe all have in common – uncertainty. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the world’s most urgent global health emergencies right now, even the most surefooted public health professionals are unsure of what coming months will bring.

Dhruti Raghurman, 15 is no different. When she learned Princeton Day School would close according to executive orders mandated by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on March 16th, Dhruti was anxious of what the next weeks of self-isolation would mean for her family and friends.

The COVID-19 outbreak triggered a sense of panic she never experienced in her community, but Dhruti decided she wouldn’t let fear stop her from helping others who desperately needed support. Just weeks after leaving school, Dhruti launched a virtual fundraiser.

“My mom says what’s the point of having emotion, if you never act on them” Dhruti said.

When she observed isles of wiped out grocery shelves at a market she and her mom visited in anticipation of the new “Shelter in Place” rules, it occurred to Dhruti that while her family could afford to purchase groceries for the next weeks of self-isolation, many others were less fortunate. Low income families who regularly struggled to buy food might not be able to “stock-up”. With the fundraiser, she hoped to raise a total of $300 for families who would face more complex challenges with food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

“All it takes is just one step” was the main lesson Dhruti learned after her earnest effort to raise $300 inspired the support of dozens throughout her community.  Upon discovering her modest campaign raised nearly three times the initial goal by the five-day mark, Dhruti was surprised.

She admitted, “I don’t think I had enough faith in my community.”

Together with a donation match from Bristol Meyers Squibb (BMS), the company where her mother is employed, the total amount hovers around $1600, which will go to feeding patrons at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK).

Asked what advice Dhurti would give to a peer who also wants to give back to their community during this unique time, she replied “you just have to put yourself out there, even if no one else says something”.

It’s a message that resonates deeply with TASK volunteers across Mercer County who have stepped up making donations of money, food and hygiene products to be distributed to patrons after the soup kitchen had to temporarily close its dining room to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Trenton.

Despite the adjustment, TASK continues to serve meals from the side and front doors of its main facility at 72 1/2 Escher Street,  Monday through Friday, from 10:30 A.M to 2:00 P.M. TASK is grateful for the courage of volunteers like Dhurti, who have taking the liberty to provide food and other emergency supplies for families in need during the national crisis.