NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Who comes to the rescue when charities need help?

A feature on the Andrew Curry Green Lake Swim

2020 was a rollercoaster of emotions and struggles for everybody. It was difficult for people to continue to do the things they love, while staying inside in attempts to protect themselves and the people around them. There are many organizations that are still trying to recover from the damage that COVID-19 did, one of those organizations being nonprofit charities.

Since the outbreak in March of 2020, nonprofit charities have experienced extreme declines in contributions, in person events, ability to serve in person, and more. Many events to help clientele one on one, were cancelled. Directors of these organizations were set back months, and left helpless because of this devastating situation that was out of their hands. The demand for help got higher, while the available volunteers and resources were dwindling. Charity organizations did the best they could throughout the past year to stay afloat and provide help to those in need.

Michelle Merrit is one of the directors of the Andrew Curry Green Lake Swim, offering help to locals who experienced the impact of the 9/11 attack. She is 22 years old and started working as a volunteer for charities when she was only 14. Similar to other people her age who volunteer, she never expected helping others to be as rewarding as it is. She volunteered at many charities like The George McGee Foundation and the Key Foundation throughout her high school career. She was introduced to ACG Lake Swim in 2015 and has been helping out there ever since, until she was promoted to a director position in 2020. Merritt says, ‘I have always loved working for charities and giving back to the community. The Andrew Curry Green Lake swim is a charity that helps the families of 9/11 victims in the local area. Andrew Curry Green was a friend and a brother to many and sadly passed away on 9/11. We run this charity to remember him and give back in his name’. After being a loyal member of the Lake Swim community for many years, it was difficult for her to watch it endure the struggles of 2020.

This local charity, Andrew Curry Green Lake Swim, is known for hosting events with many opportunities to help people across M.A. and N.H.. Merritt says ‘The financial aid that we give to help these families is always heartwarming. But the best part is seeing how tight knit and close the local communities are with each other. It really has become a staple and a highlight of the community’. The mission for this charity came about in 2004 when the directors wanted to remember Green’s legacy in a perfect way. The mission statement is, “To create a place to remember how Andrew lived.” Lake Swim has been extremely successful since it has been open, so when the COVID-19 outbreak happened, it was a bummer for everyone involved.

Similarly to everyone else, Lake Swim has dealt with a lot of stress this past year due to COVID-19. Many events that were planned throughout the duration of 2020 were cancelled and it became very hard for team members of Lake Swim to find willing volunteers. Merritt says, ‘It has been extremely hard this past year for the charity. Our 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19. The event was the lake swim, canoe race, and cookout on Northwood Lake, N.H.. Each participant has to raise money or be sponsored to swim the three miles across the lake. With new restrictions it limited the size of gatherings. So we felt that the best decision was to cancel the event’. The lack of preparation that many institutions, including charities like Lake Swim, had before chaos struck in the beginning of 2020 made it that much more difficult to pick up the pace when things started to become normal again.

As time passes, more restrictions are being lifted and more vaccinations are being distributed, which allows charities just like Lake Swim to see a brighter future for themselves. People began volunteering again around August 2020 which allowed Lake Swim to plan some events to help the families of 9/11 victims. Though things are not completely back to normal there is hope for all of the charities who struggled the past year. Merrit says, ‘The struggles we faced and extra hard work we had to put in made the aftermath that much more beneficial. It gave us a drive to make the next events more engaging and personal for everyone. In 2020 everyone struggled, and with Lake Swim we were able to create virtual community events that provided some normalcy. It was a difficult process but in the end became very beneficial for us’. The experience of the past year made volunteers like Merritt remember why they donate their time to work for this charity, it gave them more drive and passion to create new innovative events.

Merritt and all the other members of Lake Swim are happy to see the progress pick up again after the unwarranted chaos of the past year. The future for Lake Swim is bright and it is still open to new volunteers or donations to whomever is interested. There are plenty of ways for a person to help this charity, like donating your money, your time, or the direct link to their informational website to learn more. Merritt and all other members of the team at Lake Swim says help of any kind is welcome, especially after the hard year everyone collectively experienced. To receive any further information about Lake Swim, anyone can send inquiries to Merritt directly at or visit the Andrew Curry Green Lake Swim website here.