After hosting a successful food drive the previous week – Sewa International repeated it outside its office parking space at the West Oaks Mall on Sunday, May 17th.
The food distribution event was organized to help the most vulnerable population that are experiencing food insecurity in feeding their families during the COVID-19 crisis. Over 225 food packages, each containing about 20 pounds of food items, were distributed within the one-hour time slot. This event also had a parallel PPE distribution drive to help support Hospitals, Clinics & Organizations with handmade masks, KN95 Masks and Hand Sanitizer bottles. The handmade masks were stitched by Sewa’s volunteers using threads of love and passion.
Houstonians began lengthening the queue almost 90 minutes prior to the 11:00am scheduled start. The line grew to be over a mile long, snaking through the parking lot. Sewa received great support from the local police department who ensured smooth traffic flow throughout the process.
This food and PPE drive was sponsored and supported by Alice Lee of Southwest District, Hindus for America, Telica (Sugar Land), Vedanta Society of Greater Houston, Sneha Hastham, MMNA (Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America), Umang Mehta of Deep Foods, Pankaj & Rupali Maheshwari, Sant Nirankari Mission of Houston and Mrugesh & Pallavi Parikh.
Rashmi Singh & Yash Havalimane, the leads of our Food Drives appreciated the work of all the volunteers and said, “We are thankful to all the organizations who are collaborating with us in our efforts to serve the community. Together we hope to provide those in need, to relieve their hunger as well as anxiety, during these trying times”.
The preparation for this event had been ongoing for weeks, with over 35 volunteers on the day of the event! This took over 200 hours of planning followed by execution, optimizing the process of loading car trunks with packages as soon as they were parked in one of the three loading stations. It was a contact less distribution, all passengers and the drivers were requested to remain in their cars for everyones’ safety.
Alice Lee, Executive Director for the Southwest Management District said, “Sewa International is an invaluable community partner and stakeholder. Sewa International’s ASPIRE program has benefited the youth for many years in our Sister Districts in Brays Oaks and International. We have referred PPE sources to Sewa International and have found strength in working together, just like in today’s Food Distribution Drive.”
“It was an extremely humbling experience. Such drives truly illustrate that there is lot of hope and a start to a new beginning in these difficult times” said Rupali & Pankaj Maheshwari, one of the sponsors of the drive
Jagruti Sarkar, Sewa’s Project lead for Mission Homemade Mask said “Volunteers made more than 600 masks in the span of 2 weeks which is incredible, especially with their work schedules. These masks were donated during the food drive, helping the needy”
Sewa with support from its generous donors and Organization partners has planned similar food distribution events at Temples throughout the greater Houston area. May 23rd it will be at VPSS & Gujarati Samaj, May 30th at Hindu Worship Society, June 6th at ISSO (Swaminarayan), June 13th at Meenakshi Temple and June 20th at Shiv Shakti Mandir. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/sewahouston/