By Sydney Stoller
Instead of turning to baking bread or mask making this spring during the COVID-19 lockdown, three Horace Greeley High School students found a more poetic way to help the community.
Sophomore Devisi Goel began writing poems while they were stuck at home and shared them with her friends and family.
From this work sprang Poetry’s Purpose, an organization where the public can now commission personalized poems for a friend or loved one, and in return, donate to a rotating set of charities.
Goel, who works alongside Poetry’s Purpose Vice President Tessa Wheeler, a sophomore, and freshman and Chief Publicity Officer Emma Wasserman, said the power of the written word and the impact that a gift of a poem can have on loved ones has been immense.
“Writing a poem is unique because it is a specific art form of putting words on the paper that truly express your emotions,” said Goel, .the founder of Poetry’s Purpose. “We are taking the time to carefully decide on word choice, structure, cadence and more. This makes the final product even more meaningful.”
To request a poem, an interest form is submitted to Poetry’s Purpose website at www.poetryspurpose.com. The recipient is guaranteed a poem within 72 hours.
Along with name and contact information, the person includes the purpose for the poem, such as a milestone or special event, and some of the subject’s key personality traits. These details help Goel, Wheeler and Wasserman produce high-quality prose.
The final product is then e-mailed to the recipient alongside a personalized note from the organization’s founders. This paperless methodology permits unique and customizable formatting for each piece. Goel said most often they opt for black text on a pastel background.
After the poem has been delivered, patrons are encouraged to make a donation to various charities.
The trio decided this month to direct the public to the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry because of the growing food insecurity in the area caused by the pandemic.
“It (the food pantry) is a local organization, so people who are donating can feel like they’re actively making a change in their community,” Goel said. “The food pantry is doing an amazing thing by making the lives of the people who recently lost their jobs because of COVID-19 just a little bit easier.”
They have moved on from their last cause, Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, after spending a few months raising funds for the New York City public hospital that was overrun with COVID-19 patients in early spring. Devisi received and filled nine orders this summer that helped to replenish the hospital’s supplies and resources that were severely diminished following the outbreak.
In the hopes of equal success with the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, Wasserman said she is trying to spread word of Poetry’s Purpose’s mission around Westchester. For example, they have been handing out pamphlets at the Chappaqua Farmers Market each Saturday.
Wasserman said it is gratifying helping others by doing something she is so passionate about.
“It does not feel like a burden,” she said. “I am not doing this for any reason other than the fact that I love it and am super passionate about it. I am so happy that I was brought into Poetry’s Purpose because it has given me an opportunity to be creative and make a difference in my community.”
For more information about Poetry’s Purpose, request a poem or to read previous poems, visit www.poetryspurpose.com