This is not goodbye, this is a thank you: Dare to Care Packages’ next steps

Hey everyone,

Three months ago, Dare to Care Packages was founded when we exchanged a WhatsApp message to support people self-isolating during COVID-19. After a vague “Yeah, sure, let’s do it”, off we went from there. Neither of us was planning on creating a COVID-19 response initiative and Dare to Care Packages began entirely from spontaneity, yet here we are three months later. 

We saw the problems COVID-19 was creating and rapidly began building the core components needed to maximise impact: from collecting PPE shortage data from GPs and hospitals across the UK; to identifying vulnerable individuals falling through the cracks of large scale charity responses; to building the right team with legal and medical expertise; to assemble a small army of volunteers, supporters, and donors. 

Since March 27th, we have been working tirelessly every day, and have sent >1000 care packs and >20,000 meals to the vulnerable people in isolation across London, and >17,000 PPE items to GPs, hospitals, and secondary-line services. Read more about our impact here: https://daretocarepackages.com/our-impact/ 

As shops are gradually reopening across the UK, lockdown is easing, PPE regulations are changing, the reason for why we were created is going away. As such, we are announcing that our last care pack deliveries for Dare to Care Packages will be this week. On the PPE-side, we will be shipping 10,000 of our last visors to Nepal as it is no longer possible to send them in the UK due to new governmental regulations, despite hospitals and GPs still accepting our PPE before this change.

This has been a wonderful journey that brought testament to the effectiveness of rapidly bringing the right people together and augmenting their skills through leading technologies. Three months ago, we started with nothing. As of today, we have a one-of-a-kind PPE shortage dataset containing shortage information brought before this country’s MPs, a 2-story warehouse containing tens of thousands of donated products when full, a team of 250+ volunteers, 30+ sponsors, dozens of press stories, and most importantly, validation from our beneficiaries: people who we have supported through the most difficult part of the lockdown – frontline workers, migrants and refugees, vulnerable women, immunocompromised individuals, older people, and many more.

Last care pack deliveries will go out on June 19 and 20. Our support does not end here. We will be sending a list of resources to our beneficiaries shortly for where they can seek further support with the help of our volunteers. With our remaining money, both self-funded and from donors, we will be using it for our regular recipients’ benefit in the form of a big surprise that will support them during this transitional period. Stay tuned in the next two weeks! 

For our volunteers, we will still have opportunities for you to help out during this challenging time,  including helping us prepare for our continued support to our beneficiaries – we will be in touch.

Finally, we want to thank the following people/ groups, whose support greatly enhanced our impact:

  • First and foremost, we want to thank Steph Cantor for joining the team on the third day of our operations and spending almost every day since then at the warehouse. Without a core member of the team on the ground, none of DtCP would have been possible. She has been putting in her passion, empathy, skills, and countless hours of effort coordinating the assembly of care packs with volunteers, sanitising products, and more. Thanks, Steph! 
  • Shoutout to each member of the team and their contribution here:
    • Richard Robinson, our Legal Advisor, who ensures DtCP remains legally compliant in an ever-changing legal landscape.
    • Lyndsey Shelly, our who has been organising and coordinating our communications with drivers, volunteers, partners and more.
    • Dr. Carol Chan, our Medical Advisor, who kept us up-to-date on the medical perspective of COVID-19.
    • Dhiresh Nathwani, who produced so much PPE for the NHS.
    • Luke Campbell, who supported us in sourcing our productions and coordinated our donations.
    • Katya Berez, who supported our fundraising efforts and communication.
    • Mingqiao Zhao, who supported our NHS donations and coordination.
    • Tamar White, our Food Health and Safety expert who helped support our warehouse operations and our care pack deliveries.
    • Aaron Fallon, who supported our care pack deliveries.
    • Kyle Soo, who supported our outreach and communications work.
    • Veronica Humphris for designing our logo and branding materials.
  • We also have to thank every one of our amazing volunteers who have helped to assemble packages, deliver care packs, deliver PPE, and sanitizing products. A big thank you to some of our volunteers who went above and beyond week after week: Aubrey Thompson, Christine Friend, the Rodney family, the Symes family, William McDonald, Zahava Lever, Kate Booker, Aurelie Lionet, Laila Ghaffar, Sheza Afzal, Jonathan Taylor, Steffan Lee, Jonathan Weitzmann, Katie Heward, Alina Khan, Benjamin Newton, Chris Collyer, Joey and Nigel Leskin, and many other kind individuals.
  • Thank you to our partners, Migrants Organise, Crossroads Women, YMCA North London, OneHousing Arlington, Home-Start UK, and other organisations who referred us to vulnerable people in isolation so we can maximise our impact.
  • On the tech side, we want to give special thanks to Optimoroute for giving us their services for free. None of our delivery coordination would have been possible without their tools. And, we want to thank Airtable for their generous COVID-19 support initiative; the PPE shortage dataset was built entirely on Airtable. We also want to thank Buffer and Typeform (for giving us free subscriptions.)
  • Finally, a big thank you to LSE Generate, and in particular, LJ Silverman, the Head of LSE Generate, for getting us the warehouse space from which we operate, providing financial support via a LSE Foundership, and publicising Dare to Care Packages via the LSE Press.   

Thank you for being alongside us in this journey. While Dare to Care Packages is ending, our commitment to helping people impacted by COVID-19 will continue. Stay tuned for what comes next!

Yours sincerely,

Jon Lo and Josephine Liang

Dare to Care Packages Founders