Five Dublin High School students banded together last year to make an impact in their community.
Dubbing their group CarePacks, the teens are dedicated to fighting homelessness and helping those in need such as the senior population.
“We are all incredibly passionate about giving back to the community,” said CarePacks director Aarushi Mupparti, 16. “In Dublin, we pride ourselves on giving back, and as high schoolers we wanted to show other teenagers they could have an impact on their community. We started at the senior center so we could make packages for the local seniors for the winter season.”
CarePacks targets low-income seniors who, because of costs, often don’t turn their heaters on in the winter. To that end they recenlty created 100 care packages with socks, mittens and other warming items. Most of those were donated through the Dublin Senior Center, with 20 packages going to the San Ramon Senior Center.
The packages for seniors were followed by a move towards gratitude, leading the group to write cards of thanks with small goodie bags for their city’s librarians, then cards for multiple sclerosis patients living in Puerto Rico.
“Some of us are passionate about the medical field and came across multiple sclerosis in our research,” Aarushi said. “We contacted the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation of America, and they gave us a link to patients in Puerto Rico who had recently been devastated by a flood. We wanted to give them some words of support to uplift them during those times.”
In January, the group donated 50 care packages for the homeless to LifeMoves, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness to return to stable housing and self-sufficiency. The packages contained emergency blankets, gloves and other items to help recipients stay warm.
Alex Mazariegos of LifeMoves worked with CarePacks to distribute the packages and expressed appreciation for the group’s efforts.
“A huge thank you to CarePacks for their work in assembling much-needed care packages for our LifeMoves clients,” said Mazariegos. “With support from partners like CarePacks, we can do the work we need to do in our efforts to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”
During its nine months in existence, CarePacks has also run a winter clothing drive and a hygiene drive to gather clothes, coats, and essential hygiene products for the homeless. The group was also recognized by the City of Dublin for their efforts to support the unhoused as a runner-up in the city’s Organization of the Year. Carepacks collaborates with local organizations and businesses to increase its impact, hoping to reach beyond the Tri-Valley.
“We currently have a list of people we want to reach out to or have already reached out to,” said outreach coordinator Shreya Alluri, 16. “We reached out to the UCSF hospital to make patient care packages, and the Dublin SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to see if the animal shelters need anything. We also have a women’s shelter we want to work with, and we want to reach out to another hospital.”
Aarushi said thus far, all work has been done by the five founding members of CarePacks, but they hope to augment their forces with more volunteers in the future. This will enable them to complete more and bigger projects.
“We feel we’ve made a big impact so far,” Aarushi said. “When we were recognized by the city of Dublin, we received a cash award and were able to use that money to fund the UCSF project and afford some of the items that will go in those patient care packages. We realize we have made a big impact and want to do more down the road. We feel proud of the work we have done and want to keep going from there.”
For more information on CarePacks, visit www.dubcarepacks.com.