How COVID-19 has affected local community service


Sammy Knapp

Flyer for the NHS fall service project.

Sammy Knapp, Staff Writer

It has been over a year since the first positive case of COVID-19 was discovered in the United States.

Many Americans are still struggling daily to make ends meet. Even those in our own community have been harshly impacted by the pandemic. Now more than ever, local businesses and organizations need help.

Many student groups here at Milford are still finding service opportunities. Recently, Leadership students have formed a new committee in class called “Milford Gives Back.” The goal of this group is to reach out to businesses, schools, or organizations in our community each month and find ways to provide them with help or service. “We want to provide a more friendly identity to our community,” said Senior Brianna Hipple, a member of Milford Leadership. “We will be able to help with outdoor cleanups, limited indoor organizations tasks, and little jobs to make our community’s identity cleaner.” This committee kicked off its service in March, and has reached out to those within Huron Valley Schools to find ways to assist them.

Although things have been very different this year due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the National Honor Society members still have to meet the requirement of 12 service hours per semester, and participate in the fall and spring service projects. This past fall, NHS members worked closely with the Motor City Mitten Mission. A donation drive was conducted for this organization, and many members of our community collected items in addition to monetary donations.

Because of COVID-19, many service opportunities have been limited due to the protocols and CDC guidelines. Some of the NHS members have done community service online, which is another way for them to meet the 12 hour requirement.

Although online service does not have quite the same effect as in-person service, it is still a great way to make an impact during these difficult times. Senior Alex Hiipakka is one of many students who has participated in virtual community service. “For online community service, I went to a website called ‘Zooniverse’ where you could explore various environmental projects and work on one that interested you,” said Hiipakka. “I spent a few hours helping identify different animals and fish species, which benefits the community on a broader scale by helping environmental agencies understand more about our world ecosystems.”

Student Council members have also found new ways to fundraise for students and events at Milford, most recently, by organizing a bottle drive. “The bottle drive was a fundraiser for each class, mainly as a goal to replace fundraisers that were cancelled this year,” said vice president of the class of 2021, Kristen Schang. “For seniors, we plan on using this money towards prom and the class gift.” Although the student council had to work around many COVID-19 obstacles, the bottle drive was still a huge success with over $1000 in bottles donated. President of student council Joe Antrim said, “The community’s support for this exceeded everyone’s expectations, and it is great to have more funds to help give back to the community that supports us.”

Because the school year has been far from normal, members of various student groups here at MHS have had to get creative in the ways they advertise their events and services.

“It was much harder to spread the ‘word of mouth’ and in-person messages like we are used to,” said Antrim. “We did a majority of our advertising on social media and mass emails for parents and the district. However, people are much more in tune to social media and online avenues, so we received much more attention through there.”

NHS members also had to find new ways to advertise the fall service project. “I advertised the project by posting it on Facebook and Instagram,” said Junior Lily Shaw. “However, I do think more people were willing to donate because everybody wanted to help those in a time of need, especially with COVID-19.”

Flyer for the Student Council Bottle Drive. (Alexis Cornett)

The newly formed “Milford Gives Back” committee has been utilizing Google Forms and Google Sheets to organize its service opportunities. The group has had to keep in contact with local schools and businesses via email, which certainly presents challenges, but the group is determined to make this new idea a success.

Although COVID-19 protocols are still in place throughout the country, there are still many ways we can provide help and services to

those who have been most affected. Whether it’s contacting businesses in our community, or simply helping a neighbor, little acts of service during this ongoing pandemic can really make a difference.