As coronavirus cases increased throughout the nation in March, officials took widespread action to close schools, and students here and elsewhere missed out on important, enjoyable life events.
Carly Petersen was ready to go to snowshoeing in Idaho with her classmates, but Westridge School in Pasadena canceled the trip due to the pandemic.
“At the time, I was mostly just upset because I was supposed to go on a school trip,” said Petersen, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who will be a junior at La Cañada High School after transferring from Westridge. “I was so focused on what I was missing out on instead of what was to come.”
Her friend Ryan Purdy also went through a rough period as a member of the St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team. The Golden Knights punched their ticket to Sacramento to play in the CIF State Division II championship but never got the opportunity to compete. The biggest game in the history of the program was canceled by the state’s governing board for high school athletics.
“We were all packed up and ready to leave at lunchtime,” he said. “CIF made the announcement at 9:30 a.m. We were shocked, and it was a very sad thing for us.”
However, the two locals — who have known each other since preschool — didn’t dwell for long on the memories that could have been. Since public health restrictions discouraged social gatherings going into the summer, Petersen and Purdy shifted their focus on how to be productive during a difficult time.
“I had nothing to do at home,” Petersen said. “I was quarantined like everyone else. I heard about these kids doing Six Feet Supplies, and I thought I should try to expand it and do a branch in La Cañada.”
Six Feet Supplies is a student-led service founded in Santa Clarita that delivers groceries and essential supplies with no additional cost to at-risk community members during the pandemic. Petersen and Purdy were inspired by several youth leaders and decided to start a local branch.
“Instead of thinking ‘Poor me’ and how this messed up our season, I just changed my view of the situation,” said Purdy, a rising senior at SFHS. “How can I help this community? That’s when I started thinking about what I can do. I’m a younger person, so I can get out and take that risk and help people with compromised immune systems. We have a good number of elderly people in this neighborhood. How are they going to get groceries?”
Purdy, 17, said he was inspired by friends who were delivering groceries in San Gabriel, and his family began doing so for some of its neighbors. Luckily for him and Petersen, their families were supportive of the initiative and helped with transportation.
“They’ve been very helpful with driving, and some of these grocery orders are a lot,” he said. “Sometimes we need two cars and need more help. … We were just able to join forces [with Petersen’s family]. They were doing the same thing and helping people in the community. We came together to use both of our resources.”
LCF and Montrose residents can submit an order online, by email or over the phone and are then contacted by someone from Six Feet Supplies La Cañada. Those requesting the service can be as specific as they want with their order, including the brand they prefer and quantity. The students try to make the process simple to alleviate any stress. Upfront payment is not required, and the student can email or text a copy of the receipt to the recipient after the items have been delivered.
The local chapter has more than two dozen volunteers ready to help people more vulnerable to the coronavirus get what they need, and Petersen, 16, said they are ready to take on more orders as case numbers and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming rate.
“I think it’s just nice to help your community,” she said. “I am very much at a lower risk than most of them. Why not help? There’s no reason I can’t. I want to do what I can to help people and help limit the spread of the disease and avoid more people going to the hospital.”
For more information or to place an order, visit sixfeetsupplies.com/la-canada, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (562) 725-5321.