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COVID-19 inspires Troy High School Senior Jagan Nallani to help the homeless and hungry residents

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COVID-19 has changed the world as we may know it. The virus has severely impacted millions of people across the world leaving behind tough challenges to face,  health issues, deaths, mental health issues, and homelessness. The pandemic will forever leave a mark on our lives, particularly for the high school and college seniors who graduated this year. While these seniors are in an unfortunate situation and are missing out on some important milestones in their lives, the class of 2020 is rising up to meet the challenges presented to their communities. 

Jagan Nallani, from Troy High School, is one of these seniors graduating this year. He has been involved in forensics, is a singer, and played on Troy’s Boys Varsity Tennis team for all four years of high school. He is planning on attending the University of Michigan and majoring in Neuroscience on a pre-medical track in the fall. 

“When I was first put out of school, I thought ‘wow, my senior year is ruined.’ My mom works in the medical field, and she told me numerous stories of close friends and relatives who have contracted the disease, and there have been some people even on the ventilators who have passed away. It’s been really tough. That got me thinking, it’s not about the seniors of this year struggling. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about those who are actually suffering in the real world. We have the platform, we have the community. We just need to take initiative.” 

Jagan started a nonprofit organization called 4 Our Community to help communities worldwide affected by COVID-19. 

“I started this because I couldn’t sit around and bear to watch things happen with COVID and the people who suffer around us. I thought of who would need the most help in our community, and I realized that it was the homeless, living in homeless shelters, just on the streets of Pontiac, a really run-down city in Michigan,” he says. 

Jagan reached out to the HOPE homeless shelter in Pontiac, who is in desperate need of help during this time to get resources to the people living in the shelter. “This is why and where I have decided to target my organization,” Jagan explains. Jagan’s current project is to help the homeless, but he says he is planning on doing a few more projects in the next few months. His main mission is to help communities recover and maintain normalcy again. 

Jagan has created a fundraiser on GoFundMe that is raising money to relieve hunger in the Metro Detroit Community through Forgotten Harvest, which helps 55,000 agencies worldwide. The fundraiser has raised over $1200, with a goal of $2000. Jagan wants to help not only his Michigan community but the global community as well. 

Jagan’s initial efforts were so successful that he now has a whole team of his fellow students helping him with this project. 

“For the first week and a half, I was doing this by myself. When I first started, I was not expecting it to take off as much as it did. I didn’t expect people to be as generous - but they were, and they were willing to reach out to me and donate. In the first week, it was overwhelming, and I wasn’t able to do it all myself. But now we have a whole board of students and a few volunteers.”

To contribute to Jagan and his team’s efforts, there are ways that people at home can help. The GoFundMe page is continuing to accept monetary donations to reach their goal. People can also donate supplies, such as toiletries, newer used clothing, masks, school supplies, and nonperishables. 

“My team and I plan a time where we go to donors’ houses and collect the items from their front porch so that we have no risk of contact. In mid-June, we will be collecting all these items and donating directly to the HOPE homeless shelter, ” Jagan says. 

To follow or contribute to 4Our Community, you can go to their website https://4ourcommunity.org/
You can also contact them at 4ourcommunity2020@gmail.com or call 248-390-7155. 

Interviewed and Written by Ananya Varre

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