Interact Club faces challenges during pandemic


The Interact Club’s banner. Photo curtesy of Ked Kantz

Francesca Rossini

Interact Club is one of the three major service clubs at Township, and like all others, the club has already been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the need to keep both its members and the community safe, finding ways to serve the community during the pandemic has been a struggle, but the obligation of serving others still remains strong. 

Club advisor and MTHS teacher Ked Kantz noted some of the changes the club has already experienced, such as the relocation of club meetings to the South Gym to maintain social distancing. The club has also struggled to keep in contact with remote learners. Because the South Gym lacks technology, such as a stable internet connection, a projector, or Apple TV, the club uses Schoology to communicate with its remote learners. 

The pandemic has also taken a toll on traditional in-club service hours. Interact Club typically takes monthly trips to the Lancaster County Domestic Violence Shelter, and, like most other service clubs, the Cyber Seniors program at Brethren Village usually plays a major role in service hours.

Interact Club student president and senior Carson Sands described speaking with Kantz and the student vice president, Sean Cliff. “We’re trying to figure out [what] we can do, but it’s been a lot of planning and a lot of ‘no’ so far,” Sands said. 

Sands considered the issues associated with out-of-club hours that members need, opportunities that currently are not open due to the coronavirus.

“There’s definitely going to be a lot more service hours that are going to come from in-club periods rather than out-of-club periods,” Sands said. 

Lauren High is a sophomore who has been a member of the club since freshman year. Even with only one year of Interact Club experience, she can already notice differences. She cited the preparation of Halloween goody bags for the high school staff as just one example of the pademic’s impact. Last year, members huddled together and talked while assembling the bags. This year, members were required to wear gloves, which High said made assembly particularly difficult. 

“We want to keep everyone safe, but we also want to serve the community, because there’s a lot of [work] that needs to [be done in the community],” said Sands. “But we just don’t know how to make it happen.” 

Despite the seemingly negative impacts of the coronavirus, Kantz spoke of new service opportunities unique to the club this year. “We hope to conduct a supply drive later this year for the Domestic Violence Shelter. We are [also] planning to send Christmas cards to the residents of Brethren Village,” Kantz said.

He says that Interact is searching for different ways to preserve connections with the community by relying on service drives, Zoom calls and cards, and other socially-distanced efforts. 

COVID-19 relief efforts will also serve as a unique opportunity. The relief efforts were set up in part with Township Together, a new club that hopes to align and organize all high school service clubs to facilitate community service.

Although most of these relief efforts are under consideration, Kantz expressed Interact’s excitement in partnering with Township Together. “Township Together is still getting off the ground, but Interact is excited about partnering with the other service clubs at Township to amplify our efforts,” Kantz said.

Kantz said that Township Together will not replace Interact or any other service clubs, but instead streamline the clubs in order to collaborate on service projects.

Interact continues to brainstorm ideas to continue serving the community and providing adequate time for members to fulfill their required twenty hours of community service. 

Sands observed that the club is starting to adjust to the pandemic and consider different service options, though it took sufficient thought, many questions, and countless different answers. While he believes that it was not easy to come up with ideas, Sands thinks that Interact will finally be able to move forward with them. 

Kantz reinforced the community’s needs during the pandemic, needs that are not met with just fundraisers. “There are many who are in need and could use support during this time. We would like to find ways to serve with our time rather than our wallets. Fundraising can be vitally important, but giving of ourselves through an investment of our time can be equally, if not more, important.”