Hey Heather, it's me again.

Pandemic volunteering

Hey Heather, it's me again.

I’ve mentioned in passing that since the start of the year I’ve been helping Californians get vaccinated by volunteering with VaccinateCA. This past Friday, we launched our national website: Vaccinate The States. It’s still sorta in beta. We’re working on it and we’re looking for people to help: see this blog post. Folks can help by doing online research, making phone calls, and by writing code.

“Why? Do you even know people in California?”

No. Not at all actually. Honestly the only reason I have is: there’s a pandemic and I have to do something about it. I had a conversation with someone back in January where I brought up the general situation, the slowness of our response and the violence of it all. And I made a comparison: in the 4 years of WWI ~67 000 Canadian soldiers died, that’s 16 750 for each year. In January when I checked (I believe it was around mid-January) we had a total of ~18 000 deaths from covid. The violence of this is appalling to me. And this person I was talking to said something along the lines of “yeah, well.. there’s nothing anyone of us can do about it.” …

I. Definitely. Can.

I was, in a sense, disgusted by the comment. By the apathy. The resignation. I couldn’t accept it. The general attitude of the comment. After some reflecting I decided I had to do something. I started a few things on my own but they didn’t pan out. It was also overwhelming and hard doing it alone. At some point I found out about this group of people in California. Somewhere it mentioned something about making phone calls. I immediately sent an email and got started by the following day. Did you know I use to work at a call center? I added a long distance package and ‘hello California, it’s me again…’

After making a few calls here and there, I helped a bit with editing documentation. Then moved on to work on the website. Generally, my contributions have been quite modest. But I think they’re important. Especially when they can free someone up. I plan to continue making contributions whenever I can. Still gotta maintain the day job and pace myself for energy. Continually thinking about the pandemic can be taxing to say the least. But this is still the most rewarding and impactful work I’ve done as of yet I believe.

If you want to contribute, you can check out the Contributing wiki page. Or you can also fill out this form which asks for your name, email and how you want to contribute. I’m sometimes unsure about my impact, feeling like I should be able to do more. But when that happens, I try to remember my visit to Mexico. I was sitting near another tourist who, after tasting one drop of hot sauce and having a coughing fit said: “A little goes a long way”.

I can be hot sauce.

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