While other Valley locations held scaled down Fourth of July celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nirvan Rayamajhi was busy preparing for a food drive. Things were different this time around and his event had to be planned out with extra precautions and safety.
Rayamajhi had served free meals for health workers in May with the money he had raised from his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/nirvangiveback) and Instagram account, (@nirvangiveback) but this time he wanted to do something different. This time the Granada Hills Charter High School sophomore wanted to help out his school district.
After a few emails and phone calls, Rayamajhi was able to connect with the San Fernando Rescue Mission. He learned the rescue mission needed support, and he thought it was a perfect opportunity.
“I am very encouraged by the overwhelming support when I did my first fundraiser and I want to do more, but it’s not going to be easy due to the pandemic,” Rayamajhi said.
“I am beginning to realize that this COVID-19 situation is not going to end any time soon.I am missing out on a lot of things. Hanging out with my friends, track and field practice and meets and I feel like now my choices are very limited. I think we need to find a way to keep going by finding new ways to continue doing good; we cannot stop.”
He printed fliers and went around his neighborhood the day before his food drive. Pastor Roger from the Northridge Congregation Church offered the parking lot for the event. Rayamajhi got help from his own bother, Neil, who attends Nobel Middle School.
Rayamajhi partnered with Sahara Karki, a junior from Santa Monica High School who is also passionate about helping the community and protecting the environment. She is an active volunteer for “Heal the Bay,” which mobilizes LA’s diverse communities to protect the coastline, restore our waterways, and speak out for smart water policy.
“Teamwork is a key to getting things done,” Karki said. “It’s so much easier when everyone does their part.”
At around 10 a.m., the donations started pouring in. The parking lot served as a perfect venue, enabling both organizers and contributors to keep a safe distance during the drive-thru event.
Within two hours more than 100 contributors had donated approximately 150 grocery bags of food, including both fresh and nonperishable food, cereal, canned vegetables, pasta, juice, etc. There was an overwhelming support from the local neighborhood, but people came from as far away as Porter Ranch to support the event.
The donations were distributed to San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Valley Food Bank and the LAPD PALS (Police Activities League).
The students are preparing for their next event, which will focus on distributing hygienic products.