As the pandemic rages on, students at the University of New Mexico have banded together to form the New Mexico COVID-19 Association, a volunteer club focused on helping those directly impacted by the pandemic.
Cameron Moezzi, the president of the club, said that volunteers mainly assist at vaccination sites and COVID-19 hotels and deliver vaccination supplies.
“Every day there’s vaccines being given — thousands being given in New Mexico — and every time that I (volunteer), I notice that we lack help,” Moezzi said.
At the beginning of the year, Moezzi worked at COVID-19 hotels for the Medical Reserve Corps. He noticed the lack of student volunteers at these sites, and saw the opportunity to help tired medical professionals ease their workload.
“Before spring break, I decided that I wanted to create a club … for students who are interested in volunteering, donating PPE (and more),” Moezzi said.
Moezzi said now is the perfect opportunity for students to help “during this time when we’re all remote, and all we have is time.”
“My whole purpose is sending students to help volunteer, giving students PPE, donating to underserved clinics, like the Navajo clinics or Apache clinics … This is when help is most needed,” Moezzi said.
Moezzi said the club is open to any students at UNM but is specifically geared towards pre-medical and medical students.
Remy Link, a first year medical student, has been heavily involved in the club’s efforts and used her role as an aspiring medical professional to help gather more supplies.
“About a couple weeks ago, (Link) received a donation of 7,200 patient gowns … We’re basically sending students all over New Mexico with these boxes and we’re specifically focused on rural areas — not federally funded clinics,” Moezzi said.
The club currently has about 15 members and is still growing as Moezzi finds new volunteer opportunities for the group.
After the pandemic is over, Moezzi plans to keep the club alive by refocusing efforts to different volunteer opportunities, such as helping out at senior centers, food pantries and homeless shelters. He said the club’s name will then change to the New Mexico Volunteering Association.
“There’s help needed everywhere and whenever it gets closer to that time, I plan on arranging that,” Moezzi said.
Megan Gleason is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @fabflutist2716