Break the Outbreak


Alex Paul donating PPE to Marinara Pizza NYC.

For the past six months, teenagers all over the country have been stuck in their homes, watching COVID-19 cases rise throughout the world. Though there was initially a lot of uncertainty about the virus, many of those uncertainties have dissipated. However, one issue remains constant: the United States faces a shortage of face shields and masks. Masks have been proven to dramatically prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet almost all masks and personal protection equipment, PPE, are being sent to hospitals and medical professionals. Due to this scenario, workers in restaurants, grocery store employees, and small business owners/workers are left without enough masks to ensure protection from the virus. That’s where Break the Outbreak comes in. 

Break the Outbreak is a student-run non-profit organization that provides PPE to those in need. It was started in California, and chapters have been established all over the country. When I heard about Break the Outbreak’s mission, I was immediately inspired. Initially, I had not been very busy in quarantine, and in May after finding Break the Outbreak, I felt as though it was time to make a difference in my community. I am now the Regional Director of New York State for Break the Outbreak, meaning that I manage all of the New York City chapters.

Alexandra Paul ’23 stands with recipients of Break the Outbreak’s PPE.

Our New York City chapter has members who manage finances, run the social media, and reach out to local businesses and donate masks and face shields to local businesses and restaurants. All of the face shields that we donate are made by members of Break the Outbreak, and masks are either made or ordered with funds from donations. The sheer amount of businesses that need masks and PPE is astounding. 

It is incredible to have the opportunity to give back to our community in such a tough time. Though it is a lot of work, I have connected with students from around New York whom I otherwise would probably have never met. This has given me a larger New York community and makes me proud to be a New Yorker. I know that many students across the New York chapters feel similarly. Every local business or restaurant to which we donate is so grateful, which makes all the work and effort worth it. 

The New York City chapter of Break the Outbreak consists of many Ramaz students. Ramaz instills in its students the lessons of giving back and treating people how you want to be treated, which are emulated in the actions of the Ramaz students in the chapter. Teenagers from Ramaz have risen to the challenge and have been active contributors to Break the Outbreak. Through hard work and dedication, The New York City chapter hopes to grow our organization even bigger and continue to help our New York community throughout these tough times. 

To donate to Break the Outbreak, visit:

Alex Paul, Eliana Cepelowicz, and Jake Rubin distributing protective gear to Neighborhood Coalition Shelter.