Saasha Celestial-One ’94
April 03, 2020

Andover Stories: A news roundup to make you smile

The world can be a scary place, but it's also filled with inspiration and beauty. Let's focus on that second part.
by Rita Savard

Glimmers of generosity are cutting through the darkness of COVID-19. Alumni, students, and faculty are digging in: giving their time, resources, and skills to help others. Here’s a snapshot of some non sibi goodness for you, including a few happy links to click on.

To confront a problem that affects every part of society, the solution has to come from every part of society. And for those of us that aren’t in a lab researching COVID19 treatments, we can still help.

Cyrus Massoumi ’94 Tech Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist

Feeding children who depend on school to eat

With news that school closures in the United Kingdom could leave 1.3 million children without their main meal, Saasha Celestial-One ’94, co-founder of Olio, a food sharing app, is stepping up to feed needy families throughout Britain.

Olio’s Cook4Kids campaign is connecting children who are missing out on hot lunches with free meals. Since launching in March, more than 5,000 meals have been offered to children in need. The campaign has even received the support of celebrity chefs and UK restaurants and businesses.

Anyone with children in the UK eligible for free school meals can look on the app for offers in their area and get in touch to arrange a no-contact pick up.

The schools might be closing, Celestial-One says, but “lunches must go on!”

Osteria Francescana owner Lara Gilmore ’86 (right) with husband Massimo Bottura and children, Alexia and Charlie. Since closing their world famous restaurant in Modena, Italy last month, the family has opened their home kitchen to the world for a live cooking show airing daily on Instagram TV.

Feeding our hearts and minds

When Lara Gilmore ’86, owner of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (aka, the World’s Best Restaurant) had to close her doors, she and her family opened a new door—straight into their kitchen for a live daily cook along show airing on Instagram TV. Kitchen Quarantine features a new recipe each evening, airing at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EST). Have a hand at cooking with Gilmore’s husband, Michelin three-star chef Massimo Bottura here.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, where the coronavirus pandemic forced a ban on dining out, restaurant owners like Ming Tsai ’82, P’18 are working to raise money for all the servers, line staff, cooks, and bartenders who can no longer earn wages. The Restaurant Strong Fund, kickstarted by the Samuel Adams brewery, aims to provide some relief for full-time employees in the restaurant industry, with the goal of supplying $1,000 grants to as many qualifying workers as possible. As of April 2, the effort raised more than $500,000 for those in need. Tsai has also shifted his Blue Dragon restaurant into a relief center, providing daily meals for laid-off restaurant workers.

Columbia University librarians, including Moacir P. de Sá Pereira ’94, are busy producing and distributing face shields to New York hospitals.

Librarians to the rescue

Spurred by dire shortages of key equipment that endangers frontline medical workers in the fight against COVID-19, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira ’94 is firing up 3D printers to provide critical medical supplies—in the rec room of his New York apartment building.

A research and data librarian at Columbia University, Sá Pereira threw his efforts into helping his fellow librarians create face shields for New York hospitals in the throes of massive personal protective equipment shortages.

The effort was jumpstarted by Sá Pereira's colleague, Madiha Choksi, who began using the university’s printers to make a prototype. Other librarians quickly rallied to help ramp up production and distribution, and local companies—MakerBot, a Brooklyn-based 3D printer manufacturer, and Tangible Creative, a Newark-based 3D printing shop—have donated their machines, helping the volunteers produce around 600 face shields a day.

Face shields offer an extra layer of protection for health workers, with space to double up and still wear a N95 mask underneath. They are also reusable—the shield itself can be replaced and the headband wiped clean.

To help other academic libraries in the U.S. and beyond, Sá Pereira—who says he’s been “leaning on the skills I learned at The Phillipian”— created the Guide and Design for Rapidly Produced Face Shields.

“Now is a time to be supportive of people who are willing to rethink, retool, and reimagine how they can help those around them,” says Sá Pereira, “which is both part of non sibi and a librarian’s ethos.”

Read how Andover donated 4,000 protective face masks to healthcare workers.

Fundraising to find a cure

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have developed the C3 Test that can not only detect COVID-19 in people showing no symptoms—it can detect precise viral load, making it essential for monitoring and developing treatments.

Given the urgency of the work, waiting on traditional funding sources wasn’t an option. To help the research team accelerate its mission, tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Cyrus Massoumi ’94 jumpstarted an unorthodox crowdfunding campaign that invites the public to contribute funding for adding testing capacity. Massoumi’s efforts have helped raise more than $600,000 of the lab’s $1 million goal, ranging from large donations from corporate giants like Pepsi to $10 donations from individuals.

“To confront a problem that affects every part of society, the solution has to come from every part of society,” Massoumi says. “And for those of us that aren’t in a lab researching COVID19 treatments, we can still help.”

Restoring faith in humanity

Using music to bridge the distance, Yo-Y o Ma P’01, P’04 launched the Songs of Comfort project, calling on musicians from all backgrounds and levels—famous or not—to share their music and join him in offering #SongsOfComfort.

“In these days of anxiety,” Ma says, “I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort.”

Henry Crater ’20 is also helping others find moments of joy through music. The senior performs weekly dockside concerts for his neighbors in Sanibel, Fla. His non sibi gesture was highlighted on the local news to spread Crater’s good cheer even farther. Give a listen.

For literary comfort

What is the literary equivalent of comfort food? Answers to this existential question are surely varied, but English instructor David Fox has compiled an annual reading (and watching!) list of faculty recommendations that has a little something for everyone.

Editor’s Note: We will continue to highlight these types of stories in the coming weeks. If you have a non sibi story and would like to share it, please contact [email protected]

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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