WHS students give back while staying apart

Despite the coronavirus keeping WHS students out of the classroom, it has not stopped many from continuing to contribute to their community while at home. Over the course of the quarantine, many students have discovered creative new ways to support those in need.

Fortnite Fundraiser 

Instagram promotion for Mackey and Levy’s Fortnite Fundraiser (Photo by @westfieldfortnitefundraiser on Instagram)

WHS juniors Andrew Levy and Tyler Mackey have come up with a unique way to turn their video game hobby into a money-making act of service. Every Monday, around 200 people sign up to participate in one of two privately-held games of Fortnite each week, for a fee of $8. On Friday and Saturday, those who signed up play in a game of about 100 people, while contributing to the community in the process.

During this pandemic, some of those hardest hit are people who own small businesses. With this in mind, Levy and Mackey decided to donate the proceeds from their games to the We Love Local Fund, an organization dedicated to the success of Westfield businesses. According to westfieldnj.gov, 155 local businesses have received support from the We Love Local fund as of Hi’s Eye deadline.

“We wanted to use video games in a positive way and hopefully remove some of the negative stereotypes [surrounding gamers],” said Levy.  “We’ve had a huge amount of success and we have raised almost $4,000. It has been a huge hit within the community and we attract all ages.”

However, running such a successful fundraiser has not come without its challenges: “Our biggest challenge was creating a tournament big enough so everyone could play,” said Mackey; by the first week nearly 150 people had signed up. “It was a good challenge to come across because so many people were interested in helping our cause.”

Throughout the remainder of the quarantine, Mackey and Levy will continue to hold these games in order to support local businesses. To find out more about upcoming games, visit their Instagram @westfieldfornitefundraiser.

Beads for Hope

Beaded bracelet created by Beads for Hope (Photo by @beads.forhope on Instagram)

Amelia Golub, a WHS sophomore, is working to aid the community by making and selling beaded bracelets. By sending an Instagram message to @beads.forhope, anyone can give back by purchasing a customizable bracelet.

“I decided to raise money because it felt like the world needed a lot of help,” said Golub. “I wanted to do something to help and bring the community together.

Each $10 bracelet helps to fund charities Feed the Frontlines NJ and Feeding America, which aim to combat food insecurity on both a local and a national scale. 

“I wanted to include one local charity and also a national one because I thought that it would help bring people together,” Golub said. “It is hard watching the world go through a tough time and feeling like there is nothing you can do about it, but even doing something as simple as making bracelets helps a lot.”

Overall Golub’s efforts have yielded over $1,200, and she hopes to continue her success well into the future.

Tie-Dye for a Cause

Tie-Dye shirt designed by Tye-Die for a Cause (Photo by @tiedye.foracause on Instagram)

WHS senior Grace Sacco and junior Eva Terry have come up with a clever way to continue supporting Roots and Wings, this year’s chosen charity for WHS’s Junior Optimist Club. Roots and Wings is an organization that helps people who have aged out of the foster care system.

During school, the club often held bake sales, restaurant fundraisers, and worked alongside Westfield’s Optimist Club to serve the local community. To get around the obstacles of social distancing regulations, Sacco and Terry decided to put their efforts into creating and selling tie-dyed T-shirts through their Instagram page @tiedye.foracause.

“We wanted to raise money because the Roots & Wings foundation does so much for teens our age, and we knew it was necessary to help them out, especially in such a hard time like this,” said Sacco. 

Sacco and Terry started this particular fundraising effort in late April. For just $10, anyone can purchase a T-shirt to support this cause.“So far, we have been lucky to get a lot of support from our friends and have successfully taken orders, made custom shirts, and delivered several shirts” said Terry. 

Though expanding their customer base has been one of their biggest challenges, Sacco and Terry are continuing to reach a wider audience every day through social media advertising.

To support these student-run fundraisers and the community, visit their Instagrams linked below:

Fortnite Fundraiser: https://www.instagram.com/westfieldfortnitefundraiser/ 

Beads for Hope: https://www.instagram.com/beads.forhope/

Tie-Dye for a Cause: https://www.instagram.com/tiedye.foracause/