Packaging fruit, disposing garbage, cleaning Galveston beach, helping shelters.
By The American Bazaar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC: Sewa International USA celebrated “Sewa Day 2014” at over 20 locations in the country.
The objective of the drive was to bring together a diverse group of volunteers representing professional bodies, associations, linguistic, temple, spiritual, social and cultural organizations for a day of community service, according to a press release. Hundreds of volunteers of different ages and backgrounds from Sewa International and partner organizations worked on a variety of projects at locations across the country to make a difference in their communities.
In San Diego, California, about 80 volunteers sorted fresh produce, inspected, sorted, boxed, and labeled food donations; and assembled food packages at Feeding America. Volunteers in the Bay Area, California packaged 3600 lbs. of fresh fruit at the Second Harvest Food Bank that would be delivered to families and communities in need.
Volunteers at Portland, Oregon cleaned and rebuilt trails at Scappoose Retreat owned by the Vedanta Society of Portland. Activities included cleaning weeds and ferns, shoveling, garbage disposal and a guided group meditation session. Volunteers in the Denver, Colorado area cleaned the Sanatan Mandir temple in Brighton.
Forty five volunteers from the Greater Houston area came together to celebrate Sewa Day 2014 by cleaning the Galveston Beach and making a difference to the environment. Volunteers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas collected food and clothing, sorted, packed and distributed them to needy families.
In the Chicago area, volunteers arranged a bus trip for 55 Bhutanese refugee senior citizens to downtown Chicago. They also organized a free community workshop on self-healing, cleansing and meditation by a well-known yogi. At Bloomington, Illinois, volunteers helped the local food bank by sorting and storing the food and loading their food truck.
Volunteers in Atlanta, Georgia cleaned up and maintained a neighborhood road in Cobb County as part of the Adopt-A-Mile program.
Volunteers from Pennsylvania and Delaware prepared and distributed Indian vegetarian meals at two homeless shelters: Safe Harbor of West Chester and Emmaus Homeless shelter in Ellsworth, Maine. Also, a health awareness camp was arranged for the Bhutanese refugee community in Philadelphia.
Sewa volunteers in Cleveland, Ohio cleaned up a community vegetable garden at Oxcart Pantry in North Olmsted. In Akron, Ohio, Sewa volunteers distributed boxes of warm clothing and accessories to a homeless shelter and to the Bhutanese refugee community.
Among the many projects held in New Jersey this year, volunteers at New Brunswick prepared, bagged and delivered lunches for a local food shelter (Elijah’s Promise) that are distributed by the soup kitchen and by a community outreach team. Sewa volunteers at Boston, MA cooked dinner for 300 hungry people at the Cor Unam Meal Center in Lawrence. In Delaware, volunteers prepared and served food for a couple of homeless shelters.
Sewa Day projects are scheduled at a few more locations such as in Pittsburgh where volunteers will serve at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Volunteers in the Seattle area will plant and remove invasive plants at the Martha Washington Park.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is among many celebrities and dignitaries who endorsed Sewa Day. He has said, according to the release: “I think Sewa Day is something really, really, special and valuable. As Prime Minister you see amazing things and get to meet amazing people but I think the thing that gives me greater pleasure than anything else I do is seeing these amazing examples of social action in our communities”.
Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, who is the brand ambassador for Sewa Day 2014 said in a statement, “I try to reach out and tell people that this (Sewa) is incredible. I think Sewa Day is a great platform and that it should be a celebration of humanity”.
Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a 501 (c)(3) Hindu faith-based charitable non-profit service organization that works in the areas of disaster relief/rehab and development (education, healthcare, women’s empowerment, child welfare, rural and tribal welfare, and refugee support). The Sewa movement works with communities in need, and is active in 20 countries, including US, Canada, India, and the UK.