Over the past week, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Mothers Club supplied homemade care packages "made with love" by local parents to UNC students impacted by COVID-19.
Care packages were available this week for pick up and delivery to students who filled out a Google Form, said Lynne Privette, a UNC mother and one of the project organizers. She said a total of 52 care packages were distributed at the pickup table on Stadium Drive. Privette said care packages will be delivered to students who did not feel comfortable picking up a package.
Tiz Giordano, a member of the club, said they started a Facebook group called Local Parents Supporting UNC Students and invited members of the Mothers Club to join one of several projects to help students. They said the care package idea arose on the Facebook page and parents began the project over Labor Day weekend.
Privette said the packages include personal care items, sanitizer, masks, food, personal notes, candy and cough drops, among other things. She said a coordinator of the project organized the packages in her living room in an assembly line.
The Google Form asked questions to personalize each care package to an individual, Privette said. The group sought to be gender inclusive by providing options to have the items tailored to gender tastes or not, she said.
“Part of the message was that this is a welcoming group, and we want to meet you where you are,” Privette said. “So, if you are struggling with identity and things like that, we don’t want to put something on you that you don't feel comfortable with.”
On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Privette said she posted a SignUpGenius to fund and support the project.
“I posted it thinking that nobody was going to look at it since it was a holiday weekend,” Privette said. “By Monday the entire wishlist was full, everything on it, and I was adding to it because people were still sending me money. It was crazy.”
The parents wanted to do something tangible to help but still remain socially distant, Privette said.
Giordano said before organizing care package distribution, the group started connecting local parents and adults to students to talk to for emotional support.
“The whole point behind this is that if you don't have local or affirming parents, we want you to know that we see this is a terrible thing that is going on and that people are really overwhelmed, but adults in this town care,” Giordano said.
At the pickup spot, the group also offered packages to students walking past who had not filled out the Google Form.
Kedrianna Griffin-Hiltonen, a sophomore transfer student, received a package on Tuesday after walking around campus and being stopped by the group.
“It definitely brightened up my day, and I know that if somebody was really struggling, it would really help them out too, talking to the moms and them saying ‘we're here for you,'” Griffin-Hiltonen said. “I told them I was out-of-state and they said, ‘Okay, you don't have a mom or dad in the area. We will adopt you, you will be our kid,’ which was just really affirming for me to know that like, people have my back here.”
After the care package project, Giordano said the Facebook group will work on future projects to help UNC students, including providing food-insecure students with food made by local restaurants.
“I had my support system ripped away from me at a very young age,” Giordano said. “I faced housing insecurity and I faced substance use disorder issues. I faced food insecurity ... different people are drawn to this for different reasons, but for me, it is feeling bad for young people who have been let down by the adults and the institutions in their life.”
Those interested in receiving more information from the Local Parents Supporting UNC Students Facebook group can reach out to email@example.com.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.