Regina Lee, a freshman at Saugus High School, wanted to do something to help local businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley during the COVID-19 shutdown, so she decided to set to work collecting funds.
Lee was inspired to start “Smile, SCV! a fund for local businesses after the school shutdown in mid-March, when she saw businesses across the nation being affected as she watched the news, noticing that unemployment had drastically increased, and that need for essential services such as food pantries had surged as well.
“I noticed that Santa Clarita was being affected on a smaller scale, and I just wanted to be able to help these people,” said Lee. “At first, I was thinking of a food drive, but with social distancing requirements that would be hard, so I decided a monetary donation would be easier and more efficient.”
After realizing that it would be difficult to help people in the community on her own, Lee decided to partner with local organizations that also helped people in Santa Clarita. She decided to contact the local nonprofit, Santa Clarita Coalition, which Lee remembered due to its management of Saugus Strong donations in the wake of the Saugus High School shooting in November 2019.
Jeri Seratti-Goldman, of the SCV Coalition, placed Lee in contact with Matthew Nelson, of the Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club, and Bradley Grose, of Santa Clarita Grocery.
“I chose those two organizations because not only are they really active but they tackle different aspects of helping people every day,” said Lee. “SCV Grocery helps people with food and the Boys and Girls Club takes care of kids mentally and physically, which is especially important now that they are locked up in their houses.”
Lee noted that it was organizations like SCV Grocery and the Boys and Girls Club that had helped local residents both before and after the shutdown, something that she wants to make sure they will continue to be able to do.
“What I really enjoyed about this process was getting to meet all these different people and knowing that they support the people of this community,” said Lee. “When I first thought of (Smile, SCV!), it was more of a fantasy. Then I met Mrs. Goldman and she was so helpful and supportive, and now I’m realizing this fantasy can turn into reality.”
According to Lee, she would love to see Santa Clarita residents donate and support one another, treating their community as an extended family.
“I just want to see the people I see at the market, the library, or at school to smile again. Even though we’re going through a really hard time.”KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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