By Parker Leipzig
For The Diamondback

Throughout the fall semester, the University of Maryland’s chapter of Students Helping Honduras has hosted a variety of fundraising events.

Usually, the money the organization fundraises goes to building schools in Honduras, said Sophie Cargnel, a senior elementary education major and the organization’s vice president of fundraising. The groups’ goal is to alleviate gang violence and poverty with youth empowerment.

Now, the club is donating its fundraising money to the SHH COVID Emergency Fund in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The club held a fundraiser, which ended on Thursday, to get students at this university in the Halloween spirit, selling spooky-themed baskets of different sizes — single, couple and group — for as little as $10 for single orders and as much as $50 for group orders.

Each basket included decorations, candy and a candle. The group option included a photo booth with props and a Halloween board game. The baskets were also customizable.

[“A lot of possibilities”: UMD students modify Halloween celebrations as COVID-19 spreads]

“So, the idea is you can set up a little COVID-friendly Halloween celebration with your roommates or whatever,” Cargnel said.

Last year, the club funded a school in the Santa Rita community in Honduras.

“I think we raised $28,000 last year, and the school costs [$30,000], but obviously COVID cut it off so they stopped construction,” Cargnel said.

Maddie Nettleton, the organization’s president and a senior elementary education major, said the club’s biggest fundraiser is normally a Krispy Kreme sale they used to do almost every Friday of each semester.

Members of the club would go to D.C. at about 6 a.m. and sell donuts at Metro stations in the area, bringing in around $1,000 each week, Nettleton said.

In addition to the Krispy Kreme sale, some other fundraisers Students Helping Honduras would typically do included hosting a thrift store at Stamp Student Union once a semester, a gala with a silent auction, a dodgeball tournament and events with restaurants in the area.

Ethan Smalls, a junior chemical engineering major, said the various fundraisers make the group fun to be involved in.

[Students petition UMD to return to pass/fail grading for hybrid semester]

“It’s been a lot of fun and a very enjoyable organization to be a part of,” Smalls said.

Smalls said he’s glad students participated in the basket sale as the proceeds go toward a “good cause,” and the baskets can help bring in the Halloween spirit.

Like many nonprofits, Students Helping Honduras has struggled to maintain support during the pandemic, so it altered some of its fundraisers this year to encourage donations.

Earlier in the semester, the club hosted a virtual version of its thrift store, shipping items to buyers. This past week, it held a fundraiser through Instagram. And the club isn’t slowing down.

The organization plans to host a Chipotle fundraiser in early November and a drag beauty pageant over Zoom.

Even though the pandemic has brought difficult times for many people, Cargnel said donating to groups such as Students Helping Honduras is still important.

“I think even though everyone’s struggling, there’s still important causes and if we have the funds, and if we can also get something from it that’s fun, you know, why not?” Cargnel said.

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misstated the goal of Students Helping Honduras. The organization’s goal is to alleviate poverty and gang violence, not gun violence, with youth empowerment. This story has been updated.