It was March 16, 2020. I had worked my last day at the Virtua Cardiology office in Moorestown, NJ, and with the pandemic revving up, I was unsure of what my future would hold as a medical scribe or how, at large, I could assist others.

Five months later, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Antoinette Spevetz, a hero working on the front line at Cooper Hospital in critical care medicine. We discussed my background, goals, and aspirations in the field of medicine. After learning about my extensive history of video game design skills, Dr. Spevetz recommended I re-purpose…


It was not until the middle of my second semester at Rutgers University that I finally felt at home in extracurriculars. With 6 courses on top of volunteering at Give Where You Live and working with Habitat for Humanity, my spring schedule was stacked. However, with the start of stay-at-home orders, the world suddenly felt shapeless and concerning. The unknown became a familiar feeling amongst us all. I wanted to get involved with helping those who were impacted the most by the pandemic, but due to safety precautions with social distancing, I found myself lost. …


In a matter of days, our lives had flipped upside down. I still remember the Thursday in March when our principal came on the P.A. system and announced that we wouldn’t be having school for 2 weeks due to the rapid spread of Covid-19. At the time, missing school seemed like a blessing. However, as those two weeks turned into one month, and the one month turned into four, the quarantine seemed less and less appealing.

Gursirat Kaur, Head of Tutoring for NJ/PA Helping Hands

As a high school student, I can empathize with many of the obstacles students face with online learning: the frantic moments when my laptop…


In order to do good, I believe it is essential to surround oneself with people who will empower and inspire you to be better. The people I have worked with at NJ/PA Helping Hands have been nothing short of talented, determined, and awe-inspiring, and I think working with the organization can fuel anybody’s passion for goodness.

My work with NJ/PA Helping Hands began on the sidelines, regularly hearing stories about the organization’s growth from one of the co-founders — and one of my good friends — Danica Bajaj. After a few months, I joined the team on outreach. At first…


Ruhi Kanwar (B.S. Stanford University 2021), NJ/PA Helping Hands VC Director, pictured above.

A safe world does not have to be a world deprived of compassion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our lives and forced us to rethink daily existence dozens of times over in the past year. Returning home to Newark airport in mid-March, when our nation was still awakening to the reality of the foreign pathogen, I took in the familiar brisk northeastern air and cautiously navigated my way through traffic to brace what was to come with the rest of my family. But none of us could have ever foreseen the unprecedented change and loss that was to come.

Even…


Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit about 8 months ago my life has changed. My university decided to cancel in-person classes and go remote, my college graduation ceremony was canceled, I lost out on the opportunity to participate in an awesome internship experience, and I was laid off from a great job. I am fortunate however that these are the only things I have missed out on. I have been extremely lucky that most of my friends and family have stayed healthy throughout the past 8 months and those who did get diagnosed with Covid-19 have made a full recovery. I…


September, 2020. NJPA Helping Hands began with a bold vision: can we help any individual who requests help in our local region, and can we provide a volunteer opportunity for anyone who wants to give back? To understand where we came from, let’s start at the beginning.

Early March, 2020. The Inspiration

I was a graduate student studying and teaching in Palo Alto. The world looked like it was ending. In one week, six counties — encompassing cities from Oakland to Santa Cruz — shut down. In this panic, our college community banded together to create a Mutual Aid Spreadsheet…


Bored and quarantined, I sat in my bed in late March reading article after article about COVID-19. But in the midst of heartbreaking headlines was a photo that read:

“We’re all in this together, just a little further apart.”

I smiled but asked myself how we could be in this together if we were all isolated at home. I saw the disastrous effects of COVID-19 around me — the disparity in resources and fear that it created — and I wanted to help. But as a high schooler, I didn’t know how. Who would I work with? …


A man and dog walk past a sign that reads, “We’re in this together. Just a little further apart.”

Helping Hands originated in the Los Angeles area when a group of Stanford University students observed the pandemic’s drastic impact on at-risk communities. Within a month of starting their cause, lahelpinghands.com had formed over 200 matches, providing grocery and prescription pickups to seniors across the city. Eventually, they even partnered with the LA Mayor’s office.

When Stanford student Kyle D’Souza returned to New Jersey, he partnered with Danica Bajaj, a family friend, to replicate Los Angeles’ success in New Jersey and Philadelphia. …

NJ/PA Helping Hands

An NJ/PA-based group providing support through our allyship, virtual companionship, and online tutoring programs. Assist at gf.me/u/x5htyk! njpahelpinghands.com

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