New York: As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted livelihoods and brought economic hardships for many, the Hindu-American community mobilised efforts to collect and distribute over 2,96,000 pounds of food across 26 states in the US. Over 175 organisations and individuals joined hands nationwide to collect food for pantries across the country amid the raging pandemic. Over two months, the organisations collectively donated 2,96,000 pounds of food to 199 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in 210 cities across 26 states under the SewaDiwali’ initiative, a statement said.
Under the initiative, New Jersey State saw a record collection of 1,22,000 pounds of food for over 45 townships and 51 pantries. Due to the pandemic and its economic consequences, more and more people need assistance with food supplies and essential materials and the Hindu-American community has come together to meet these challenges, Prakash Parab of Indian Civic Action for Monroe said in the statement.
Amanda Lyons, Middlesex County College’s basic needs coordinator, said the generous donation came at a crucial time as the college’s supplies were dwindling and many students were facing hardships. ‘SewaDiwali’ is a national initiative spanning several organisations and individuals driven by the values of “Dharma and selfless service”.
It began in New Jersey in 2018, when over 25 organisations collected 18,000 pounds of food with the goal of supporting the local community. This project expanded to 11 states in 2019 and collected over 55,000 pounds of food items across more than 40 townships in 11 states, NJ Coordinator of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) Amit Shahane said. Volunteers associated with the initiative said the pandemic highlighted the need for people to come together to support and help those in need.
The statement said Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano and other city and state officials appreciated the efforts of SewaDiwali’ and its volunteers.
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