Summer is something that almost everyone looks forward to. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chance of a regular summer is at great risk. Camps are in jeopardy, travel plans have been cancelled and even social interactions are in an uncertain state.
Sasha Barnett ’22 has been going to summer camp for 11 years. She worries about the possible cancelation of camp and wanted to be more involved in helping end the pandemic. Combined with her interest in baking, Barnett found the perfect way to give back. She started the organization Support for Summer that aims to alleviate this uncertainty and make a contribution to putting an end to the Coronavirus.
“I felt that creating my own cause would not only make me feel good in helping end this pandemic but also would help others feel good by donating to a local cause and receiving a little jar of summer sunshine in return,” Barnett said.
Barnett raises money by selling jars of baked goods. Every few weeks, she creates a new dessert to sell. The first one was cake jars, and the current one is s’mores bars jars.
“Everything is also completely from scratch so there is a lot of love and effort going into these jars,” Barnett said.
Money for the cause is donated through Venmo to the account @supportforsummer. People can donate however much they would like, but Barnett suggests an amount of at least $5.
After donating, if a person lives in Fairfield County, they can either message their address to the organization’s Instagram account, @supportforsummer_, or include it in the Venmo transfer.
Barnett can’t deliver jars to people living outside of Fairfield County, but she still welcomes donations. All of the jars are made with clean hands and are left in mailboxes to ensure contact free delivery.
Barnett keeps a spreadsheet of everyone who has donated and after a week or two of donations, she bakes the desserts at home. All the baked goods are put into jars, labeled then hand-delivered to customers.
“Last week’s jar delivery took over four hours to deliver to everyone,” Barnett said, “but it is worth the smiles and joy these jars bring to people and the help the donations give during this tough time.”
She and her family pay for all the supplies to make the jars, and 100% of the donations go to Feeding America.
Barnett found it difficult to decide which charity to donate her earnings to, but in the end she picked the cause that would best align with the Coronavirus. Feeding America is an organization that provides food to food banks all across America during this difficult time. Barnett felt that Feeding America has a strong and clear message.
“By donating to the project you are making a difference and helping the country just from home,” Amy Hogan ’22 said. “As the country is suffering greatly, I think it is really important to contribute and try to help others.”
Barnett wanted a name that would mean something to many people. She also wants people to understand her purpose in working for the cause.
“Even though my donations go to a very popular charity,” Barnett said, “the thing that makes my cause stand out is the fact that you are donating in honor of summer and of course the dessert jar aspect for those living in Fairfield County.”
Her initiative has been well received by the Staples community and has contributed to peoples’ understanding that one seemingly small thing can make a significant change.
“It’s a really neat idea that makes people happy, and the cause is super important,” Anooshka Sethi ’21 said.
Barnett started her cause on April 25 of this year, and the support has been amazing ever since. She loves running Support for Summer.
“Not only does it keep me busy during quarantine, but I enjoy organizing and advertising everything,” she said. “It allows me to be creative and also helps others which feels great.”
In just a little over two weeks, Barnett has raised $735.
“I am extremely grateful for everyone’s donations and just cannot believe I have raised that much money already,” Barnett said. “It feels great to know that that money is going to help so many people get some food in their stomach during these harsh times.”