Jasmine Mays takes Villanova’s CARITAS spirit the streets…literally. It started with a successful food donation drive on Juneteenth of this year, where she handed out food on the street near her North Philadelphia home. A generous benefactor came across the Villanova senior and donated three palettes of food to her cause. Energized by the success of that campaign, Jasmine turned her charitable eye towards the Villanova community and created the Covid Prevention Pantry.
“I thought to myself: we're going back to school, we want to be safe, how can we make this happen?” said Mays, a psychology major with a biology minor.
Jasmine took to Instagram to answer those questions. She polled friends and fellow Villanova students on social media to ask them what supplies they felt they’d need most over the course of the semester. Jasmine then launched a drive to collect masks, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfecting wipes, tissues, Theraflu, cough drops, tea and eyedrops, that will supplement the supplies provided by the University to the students upon their return to campus.
Jasmine continued, “I told people they could DM me privately, and I got an influx of requests for supplies, and questions from people about what they could do to help. We're grateful for what Nova is giving us, but some people could use more, especially as flu season approaches.”
In order to keep the pantry fully stocked for the foreseeable future, Jasmine created a GoFundMe campaign in late July. While the donations have slowed in recent weeks, she collected over $1,500 in the first three days alone— about half her total goal.
The Villanova community rallied around Jasmine as she assembled her plans. Villanova’s Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA) is helping Jasmine spread the word that these supplementary items are available to anyone who needs them, and will host an information-session on what items are needed, and how to get them. Jasmine also contacted the Student Government Association and two Instagram accounts popular among Villanovans, NovaInsider and NovaNationer, to help spread the word. Villanova’s Office of the President and the Office of Student Involvement are collaborating with Jasmine to find a space on campus to house the donated items. In addition, Jasmine has assembled a group of student volunteers to drop items off outside dorm rooms.
With the uncertainty of embarking on a college experience during a global pandemic, Jasmine emphasized, “students need to know there is a place on campus that they can go to get items if they need them.” Villanova’s CARITAS Commitment, a pledge taken by the entire University community to keep everyone healthy and safe in the coming months, is certainly embodied in Jasmine Mays’ generous spirit.
To learn more about the Covid Prevention Pantry, click here