By J1 Reporter Sydney Witkowski
Students all over the world are trying to balance how to stay safe and healthy while still being involved in their community. Operation Others, a club made from students at the eight Catholic schools in Omaha, works to serve families in need around the Omaha area. Operation Others core team members are juggling how to help families in need, while also leading and keeping Catholic school students safe. Now that meetings have new protocols of a 6-foot distance, masks at all times, and no large groups, club involvement at Marian looks a little different.
With Coronavirus protocols, “Operation Others can’t have big meetings. We are made up of the eight Omaha Catholic Schools, and unfortunately we can’t meet and mix students together,” senior Bridget Gerards, an Operation Others core team member, said.
Usually at this time, members of the club would be participating in an event called “Trick-or-Treat for Cans.” This is one of the club’s big fundraisers that the large group could not participate in. Normally, all students would meet at Creighton Prep, load into cars and go to Dundee to collect bags of canned goods off of front porches in the Dundee neighborhood that they had dropped bags off to fill earlier that week.
Although “Trick-or-Treat for Cans” could not happen normally, Operation Others is hosting a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive at Marian from Nov. 9-13. “Our goal is to bring in 2,500 jars in total,” junior core team member Erin Connelly said. Connelly is also keeping a positive attitude and trying to keep Operation Others running as normal as possible, “The core team still gets together every other week in person to figure out future plans. We just had call-in day so all of the families in need of food delivery on delivery day are now signed up,” Connelly said.
Along with the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, “There will be the annual Turkey Drive on Nov. 21, where we hope to collect 1,000 turkeys to give to all families who are receiving food on delivery day,” Connelly said.
Even though the numbers in Operation Others have not changed dramatically, this year not as many people can participate in many events. Earlier this year, Operation Others helped to set up plexiglass desk dividers in all of the classrooms at Marian. They had about 50 girls help out. “I was really happy with the outcome, I just wish more girls would be able to come to meetings and see what Operation Others is really about,” Gerards said.
Operation Others core team member, Marian junior Brianna Dovali, said “I am really glad that Operation Others is still up and running this year. I really do miss coming together as a large group to spread ideas and meet new people from other schools, but as a small group with just the core team leaders meetings are much more efficient.”
Even though COVID-19 has taken a toll on involvement, “Operation Others is so rewarding. It makes me genuinely happy to know that we are still helping the families in the Omaha area. Now more than ever, I can tell that families appreciate everything Operation Others does for them,” Dovaili said.
Overall, COVID-19 has affected participation in Operation Others, but that will not stop them from meeting their goal of helping the Omaha community. The club has been taking the right precautions to keep everyone safe, in hopes that they will all be together again as a large group to continue to help families all around the Metro area.