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Ingraham High School student creates volunteer coronavirus assistance organization

Christopher Nguyen, a junior at Ingraham High School, recently created a volunteer organization to help battle the impacts of the pandemic. “WA Helpers” mission is to manage no-contact volunteering and support requests throughout Seattle.

Per an email sent out by Christopher: “As the coronavirus began accelerating not only in Washington but in other states as well, I decided to support those who want it in King County, starting with Seattle, to minimize their exposure to the disease. Helping out with simple household tasks around the neighborhood such as shopping, picking up prescription medicine, and walking dogs with minimal to nonexistent contact between neighbors can help reduce both the rate of infection and the death toll of COVID-19. It is best that those in high-risk groups stay out of the public, especially if they have a choice. Inspired by Westside Friends LA and being a part of Mutual Aid National Connections, I created the organization “WA Helpers” to manage no-contact volunteering and support requests throughout Seattle.  

The way this works is quite simple. Those who need help with any viable task just visit our website to request support, which is sent to me. With my roster of all the volunteers I have in hand, I match a volunteer to the requester, giving them each other’s contact information. From there, they arrange everything themselves such as grocery lists, methods of reimbursement, and time frame. Both the volunteer and the requester are given detailed guidelines to follow before any communication. They are pretty obvious ones like being nice and keeping physical contact to a minimum. This method has been used by the Los Angeles group, and they have successfully fulfilled hundreds of requests around the city.

Overall, we want to make sure that those of us who are sick, incapacitated, unable to leave the house, or high-risk can still get what they need to survive. I am reaching out to you because this organization is pretty new and we are still expanding this. I think many involved with the senior center would love this service, especially because it does not require those who request to take a step outside. I know you have a huge mailing list, which I think is perfect to spread the word so anyone who wants to get help is able to. Is it possible for you to send an email out to inform the neighborhood of this service? Not only do we welcome anyone who wants to request support, but we would take volunteers as well!

Note: For those who do not have access to the internet, our phone number is ‪(509) 540-3137.

Thank you for helping me bring this service available to everyone in Seattle. Anything you can do to help me accomplish this is greatly appreciated!”