This article is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “Heroes of the Crisis.” From medical professionals to social-justice activists to culinary stars, here are some of the people who have helped get us through these most challenging of times. Read about the 15 people making a difference during the pandemic here.
Akshath Mahajan and Maneesh Vallurupalli
Founders, Project Support Initiative
How they’re helping:
The Loudoun County 12th-graders run a network of volunteers who deliver groceries to senior citizens and the immunocompromised. “What we’ve built is a really good bridge between generations,” says Akshath.
The duo spent up to 30 hours a week doing outreach and making deliveries at the start of the pandemic. Now they’re able to delegate that work to 400 volunteers and chapter leaders in 21 states, the Philippines, and India. They estimate they’ve helped almost 2,000 people.
Moment of connection:
When Akshath delivered groceries to one of his mentors, whose wife is a three-time cancer survivor. “He was afraid to go outside because he didn’t want to potentially cause his wife’s death. That was when I knew that what we were doing was really big.”
Who inspires them:
Their grandparents. “If I can give back to the elderly people in our society who’ve done so much for us, that motivates me to go further with this initiative,” says Akshath.
This article appears in the October 2020 issue of Washingtonian.