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The Hindu-American community donated more than 1,33,000 kilograms of food to the poor and needy as part of its “Sewa Diwali” drive.
The food drive, a collective effort of cultural and religious communities, yoga institutions, and numerous other organisations rooted in the Dharmic value, has been recognised by many states, cities and local governments, a community release issued said.
It said nearly 179 organisations and numerous individuals came together to collect food for food pantries across the country.
For over two months, 294,000 lb of food was collected across 26 states and 225 townships in USA, and donated to 199 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters under the “SewaDiwali” initiative, the release said.
During this drive, hundreds of people made their homes “collection centers” for their neighbors to contribute. People were encouraged to donate canned goods and non-perishable items, which could be donated to food pantries or homeless shelters, it said.
Jennifer Apostol, department head, MCFOODS, NJ, said. “With 9,000 lb of food donated, the food pantries know they can have shelves stocked and ready for visiting families. Some families are still paying bills.”
“This was a two-month program, with the plan to collect food and give it to the local food pantries,” said Venkat Gade, president of Chinmaya Mission in Connecticut.
The initiative began in New Jersey in 2018, when over two dozen organisations collected 18,000 pounds of food during the festival of Diwali with the goal of supporting the local community. The project expanded to 11 states in 2019 and collected over 55,000 pounds of food items across over 40 townships throughout the northeast region, according to the release.