Interact Club holds Ronald McDonald House donation drive for Virtua Voorhees hospital

With over 200 members involved, the club’s seven teams each work with a different organization in order to forge a better future for thousands of people.


Photo supplied by Jacquelyn Mancinelli

Interact Team 7 received donations from over fifty students and twelve staff members.

Giving back to our community is an essential aspect of humanity. As we live day in and day out, there are people who aren’t as fortunate, and need our help in order to meet their needs and requirements. But on the high school level, are there any opportunities for students to directly help those around them?

  The Interact Club is one of Eastern’s foremost service organizations, and directly focuses on helping the surrounding communities. With over 200 members involved, the club’s seven teams each work with a different organization in order to forge a better future for thousands of people. This year, Interact Team 7 decided to collaborate with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

  Senior Cindy Nguyen is the president of Team 7, and she chose to work with RMHC after attending a field trip in the 2019 holiday season, where she helped to donate toys to less-fortunate children. As an organization, RMHC’s mission is to provide support for families with children who need to stay at the hospital long term.

  “I thought that their mission was very commendable, and I was able to contact them over the summer to confirm our cooperation again this year,” she said.

  Nguyen works closely with Team 7 leaders Alexa Prowisor and Norman Nguyen (Cindy’s younger brother). They keep contact through a group chat, where possible ideas for new projects are shared.

  “Norman, Alexa, and I have a group chat and we keep each other updated if any members contact us or if we found a new event. I think this year has been extra fun for me especially because I have my brother as my right hand man,” Cindy Nguyen said.

  For one of their recent projects in January 2021, the trio chose to gather food donations for the RMHC room at the Virtua Voorhees hospital NICU.

  When newborns are sick, prematurely-born, or have serious health problems of any kind, they are admitted to the NICU, where doctors can care for them at all hours of the day. Mrs. Mancinelli, Team 7’s advisor, has had personal experience in the NICU with two of her children, so the donation drive really hit home for her.

  “The (RMHC) room is a place where NICU parents can rest, relax, and eat. Since those parents are under a lot of stress, a cup of coffee or a snack can really make a difference,” she said.

  Taking inspiration from Mancinelli’s personal experience, the Nguyen siblings and Prowisor got to work making a donation box, and fliers to advertise the food drive. Asking for items such as crackers, pretzels, juice, water, and utensils, Team 7 accepted donations up until January 15th.

  At the end of the donation period, the end result was staggering. Team 7 received more than three table’s worth of items from about fifty students and a dozen staff members, which have directly impacted the lives of people in need. It’s an inspiring display of community service, and all the initiative was taken by Eastern students.

  For Prowisor, who is a sophomore, rising to a leadership position in her second year at Eastern has allowed her to pursue what she loves.

  “I was motivated to become a team leader because I really love volunteering and what Interact stands for, and I felt that being a team leader would allow me to make more of a difference and help out as much as I can in our community,” she said.

  In the future, Interact is planning more food drives, letter-writing campaigns, and virtual meetings with community members. In addition to RMHC, other organizations that the Interact teams work closely with include the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Samaritan Hospice Center in Mt. Laurel, Wildlife Protection of New Jersey, the Food Bank of South Jersey, the Voorhees Pediatric Center & Joshua Kahan Fund, Color a Smile, and Smiles from Kara.

   Since he entered Eastern as a freshman, junior Norman Nguyen has worked with a number of organizations, and his time with Interact has been very influential to him.

  “Being a part of the club has been a very fulfilling part of my high school experience. As a freshman, I enjoyed going to different events like the senior brunch. It was great talking to all of the senior citizens and hearing their experiences. This club and what it has to offer has helped me grow not only as a student, but also a person,” he said.

  By serving the communities around us, members of Interact help to benefit those in need, and also better themselves in the process. No matter who you are or what you like, there’s something for every Eastern student in Interact. Anyone interested in joining the club should contact one of the advisors, Mrs. Molloy, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Mancinelli, or Mrs. Krul.