LONG BEACH, Calif. – Poly High school junior Jacob Kraus, like thousands of other teenagers across the country, is now spending the majority of his school days consumed by the computer.
But it's not all schoolwork for Jacob.
“While I’m on a Zoom call for example, I’m also behind the scenes coordinating requests and stuff like that,” he explained.
Between lesson plans, discussions, and homework, Jacob is also hard at work on a platform he created during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s called Covid Connections.
“We’re connecting people who need help with getting out with groceries or similar errands, with volunteers who can help,” Jacob explained.
Users can go online to sign up as either someone who needs assistance or someone who can provide it. From there, Jacob is able to match volunteers across the country to different tasks that need completing — things like grocery shopping or delivery.
Since its launch in March, Covid Connections has spread to seven different states with about 200 deliveries made so far.
“People are just really grateful to have a resource like this," he said, "happy to have someone in their community who can help them.”
In addition to helping others, it's also given Jacob the unique opportunity to give his time to a worthy cause, at a time when so many are feeling helpless.
“I’m just really proud of how far spread it’s become, how many people we’ve helped," he said.
And it's just getting started. Although the name itself relates directly to the global pandemic, Jacob's hope is that Covid Connections will live on beyond the health crisis — giving him a chance to create lasting connection, despite social distancing.
“Even when the pandemic is done, I still hope that I’m able to keep this as a long-lasting resource to connect people in a community,” he said.