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UCHS students create helpline

Trent White, Ashleigh Edwards and Zach Thompson of the CV-19 Helpline go on a grocery run for an area family. (Contributed photo)

By Richard Rourk

While students of Unicoi County may be out due to COVID-19, a select few have decided to serve the community.

Unicoi County High School student Brandolyn Thomas said she did not want to be idle at home while she knew members of the community that are more susceptible to COVID-19 were stranded at home worried about getting necessary supplies to survive.

“I just couldn’t sit at home while people were out there struggling, so I thought that this would be a way to help,” Thomas told The Erwin Record.

So, Thomas and her classmates opened up a CV-19 Helpline. By going to CV-19 Helpline on Facebook and filling out a quick form, citizens of Unicoi County who may not be able to get necessary supplies during this trying time can receive help, including grocery deliveries from the CV-19 Helpline crew.

“Being in the middle of a pandemic, it is important to remember the people who are in need – single mothers with no childcare, families with no food, people without jobs and so many more,” Thomas said. “It is our responsibility to all stand together to ensure everyone, from county line to county line, is taken care of.”

Although this isn’t a school organization, Thomas reached out to her classmates to get the helpline going.

“Messages started pouring in and classmates were quick to say I can help in any way,” Thomas said. “Everyone started sharing the helpline info all over social media and raising awareness for it.”

Thomas acknowledged that roughly 60 high school students are involved with the CV-19 Helpline.

“There are about 60 students involved but we have a core group of about eight or nine students delivering groceries,” Thomas said. “We have helped 10 families so far and provided meals for about two weeks for them. These are single mothers that need diapers, people that need meals for their families and really necessities to survive and don’t have the ability or resources to get them.”

Unicoi County Schools Director John English was not surprised by the students’ actions. “Knowing these students, it doesn’t surprise me at all that’s where their effort is at this time,” English said. “They are community-minded – just really incredible young adults with a spirit to help others. I am very proud of them.”

According to Thomas, the group is also providing virtual tutoring services for students that are stuck outside of the classroom during this crisis.

“They can Facetime with a certified teaching student that went to Governor’s School and he is able to give lessons through Skype as well,” Thomas said.

Thomas acknowledges that Zach Thompson, Trent White, Ashleigh Edwards, Daniel Shults, Emma Ledford and Audrey Tipton have been critical in making CV-19 Helpline a reality.

For those wishing to donate to the CV-19 Helpline you can do so by visiting CV-19 Helpline on Facebook and pledging any amount. For more information and for updates, please follow their Facebook page.