In just under a week, the Kenyon Young Democratic Socialists of America (KYDSA), in partnership with United Way, raised over $4,000 towards the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, which was created to bolster the Knox County economy during the pandemic.
“A couple of days ago, I said that I wanted to break $1,000, but we have broken $4,000,” Noelle O’Neal ’21, a current member of KYDSA, said.
Sigal Felber ’21, who served as a co-chair of KYDSA for two semesters, spent this past semester studying off campus in Philadelphia, where she was involved with labor and community organizing. Once the COVID-19 crisis escalated, she decided to bring her ideas to the Mount Vernon community. She decided to contact United Way after learning about the preexisting fund.
United Way has set up a worldwide relief fund to help vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an email sent out by KYDSA, the average rent in Mount Vernon is $350-600, utilities are $150 and medication vouchers total around $50 per family; United Way’s fund intends to cover these costs.
“From a perspective of rural organizing and community outreach, it’s important to respect and acknowledge the work that has already been done in the community,” O’Neal said. “If there are people who know the best way to allocate resources, supporting them in whatever way you can is really important. Doing a fundraiser was the most effective way to help people in need.”
While KYDSA has received support from a number of different students, faculty, alumni and current staff members, a large portion of the donations have been from other campus organizations, with the greatest share coming from the Archons, the PEEPS and the Ransom frisbee team.
“PEEPS and Archons have donated the remainder of their dues that were gathered this semester to United Way, which Archons had already been planning on doing,” Felber explained. “I think what they’ve both done is really incredible, because you can’t donate BFC-allocated money.”
With Kenyon students away from campus, Felber expressed the importance of supporting this fundraiser.
“Word of mouth is really powerful if people are in a place where they can donate,” Felber said. “It’s a really great thing to consider donating to, considering Kenyon students do patronize local businesses and restaurants and shops [while on campus].”
Both Felber and O’Neal ask that Kenyon students continue to share the fundraiser on social media and donate if they are able. Students can contact KYDSA at email@example.com with additional questions or make a donation at https://app.mobilecause.com/form/S9hqhA?vid=6tvbr.