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Perseverance Through the Pandemic

Lebanon Valley College student James Song makes a delivery to the food pantry

How can people better their community while in a pandemic? This is something that James Song ’22 has managed to do through his LVC volunteer work. People like Song are helping out during a pandemic while also remaining safe. 

The third-year exercise science major has volunteered for several years through his church and high school. Song expected to have similar volunteer experiences when he arrived at LVC; however, that all changed with COVID-19.  

Typically, direct contact with individuals is an essential aspect of volunteering. Because of COVID-19, community organizations have had to get creative to ensure everyone remains safe—both the volunteers and the people they serve.

“We were not able to meet anyone in person for most of our events,” Song explained. “This took a huge toll on Book Buddies, as you can imagine, and that was one of my most favorite projects at LVC.”

Book Buddies is a community service project at a family shelter. Before the pandemic, Song read and played with younger children who stayed at the shelters. He experienced one-on-one connections, which is vital for volunteering.

“The kids were happy most of the time, and it was a blessing to see them happy,” he said. 

Although the program was canceled this year, Song hopes to be involved again in the future.  

“The pandemic forced us to find alternative ways to serve others, which for the most part can be grouped with global service as well,” Song said.

Song and others are living examples of how service is still possible, even if it’s done remotely. Though it may seem challenging, Song encourages individuals to make efforts to do the work. 

“It can be hard to serve nowadays, and just finding an opportunity can be difficult,” he added.  “Think outside the box and try to come up with ways to help others without seeing them, and don’t be afraid to try something you haven’t before. [COVID-19] is forcing most people to do so when it comes to volunteering.”


-- Jordan Walter ’23 for ENG 430 Feature Writing