As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the current situation has given us a clear reminder of how interdependent we all are, bound together like a string of pearls as Gurudev would say.
While all of us feel the impact of the novel coronavirus, the burden falls most heavily on those who have been marginalized in our society. Homeless people, those on the poverty line, individuals without health insurance are all feeling the pinch most of all, as many struggle to get even a single meal for the day.
Many students around the country rely on schools to provide free or low-cost meals. Many of the children in these families have no other way to get their meals for the day. With most schools around the nation closed until further notice, many of these families are struggling to get additional basic necessities met.
With all this suffering around us, we must ask ourselves: How can we as members of this community step up to help meet their needs?
Chinmaya Mission San Jose has identified these community service organizations serving the fringes of our society, that could use a helping hand.
- HomeFirst HomeFirst serves more than 5,000 adults, veterans, families, and youth each year at seven locations including our Boccardo Reception Center, which is the county’s largest homeless services center. And their ultimate mission is focused on helping people in need find and keep permanent housing. CMSJ sevaks have volunteered at their facilities ranging from breakfast at the Boccardo center, sleeping bag and winter coat distribution. CMSJ made a first contribution of $5000 for essential supplies that they identified as immediate needs.
- Community Seva Community Seva is working tirelessly to help address some of the biggest challenges the homeless population are facing during this pandemic. Their Community kitchen serves around 1200 meals a weekend. This is still not enough to meet the demands of the hungry homeless with no access to nutritious food. Grants from Silicon Valley of Non Profits allow them to serve daily sandwich lunches to the people in various encampments. They are planning to provide daily lunches for the months of April and May.
- Community Legal Services Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto works to improve the lives of low-income families throughout the region. CLSEPA specializes in immigration, housing, workers’ rights, records clearance, and consumer protection.
- Northern California’s Community Action Agency Sacred Heart Community Service started feeding hungry families in the neighborhood in 1964. Its services include food pantry, clothes closet, rental assistance and community organizing.
- Narika, Maitri – Narika and Maitri are helping victims of domestic violence avoid homelessness filling an especially critical gap amongst the immigrant population in the Bay Area.
- Arcata House providing critical services in the neighboring counties of Arcata and Humboldt.
- India Community Center‘s NARAYAN Seva, in these difficult times and with shelter in place order it has limited many senior citizen’s ability to visit grocery shops or do other chores outside of their homes in a safe manner. A group of volunteers supported by the ICC are delivering lunch and dinner to seniors at their home. Narayan Seva started on 29-March-2020 serving 134 seniors citizens. To date, over 2500 meals have been served in Cupertino, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont.
- Life Services Alternatives (LSA) is an organization that operates community-based homes to provide residential care and support for adults with developmental disabilities. We currently manage ten homes in Santa Clara County. Our staff and the families of our residents collaborate closely to meet the needs of each individual. We have dedicated passionate staff who enjoy the work they do. Our residents are engaged in daily recreational, physical and educational activities that give them the opportunity to live personally satisfying and fulfilled lives in the community.
- Tower Foundation of SJSU runs a pantry to provide food and supplies to students in need; especially an invaluable service during these times for international students without avenues for earning an income.
- SFSU HEAL Initiative aims to train and transform healthcare professionals from around the world to provide care for the resource-denied while becoming part of the global movement for health equity.
- SCU Food Insecurity Program: Runs a pantry from donations received. Donations that we receive make the difference of how much food we can offer in our pantry. With $500, we can offer more consistent staple food items such as peanut butter, rice, canned beans, etc. With $5,000 we can increase what types of items we can offer to include needed but not life-necessity items such as paper towels, laundry pods, lotion, floss, a wider variety of canned items, spices, and cultural preferences such as lentils, tahini, etc.
- Overseas Volunteers for a Better India: The OVBI team is providing a standard packet which consists of five pounds(5 lbs) rice , oil, bag of potatoes, bag of onions, two pounds (2 lbs) toor dal , maggi packets.
Cost : $25/student/month. They are currently covering Boston, New Jersey, Dallas, Arizona and LA Universities.
CORD USA (Chinmaya Organization for Rehabilitation & Development by Undertaking Sustainable Activities) is a secular, non-profit that aims to help communities create a sustainable program to aid in their holistic welfare. CORD USA serves humanity regardless of race, religion, color, gender or nationality. CORD USA is approved for company matching donations. CMSJ has partnered with CORD USA to facilitate fundraising.
Thank you for donating to help the community weather these difficult times. Please avail of company matches for this donation – CORD USA is an approved recipient of donation matches . In these times your dollars go further.
Please fill this form out after you make your donation to help us track your donations and any pending matches:
Please note that with CORD USA, 100% of your donations and corporate matching goes directly to those in need! Let us collectively bring our heads and hearts together as we help our fellow citizens in need through these extraordinary times!
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Please enter your donation into the COVID-19 Donation Tracker.
This too shall pass.
Unto HIM our best
Please check facebook.com/CORDUSA for a comprehensive update.
July 20, 2020
We are able to add 3 more worthy community service organizations to the list in this round, LSA, HEAL Initiative and The Tower Foundation of SJSU. This in addition to supporting the needs at Community Seva and ICC’s Narayan Seva.
This brings the total funds distributed: $84,000
June 8, 2020
Bhamreji gave us an outline of the challenge in front of us and shared the milestone of $100K in donations.
Challenge: Highest bankruptcy rates since the Great recession of 2008; 14% unemployment and 40% unemployment for people with less than $40K in wages.
And there is no vaccine or cure in sight.
- Funds pledged by the community: $112,000 [TARGET: $600K]
- Funds distributed: $44,000
And you can watch Bhamreji’s appeal recording here.
May 31, 2020
ICC‘s Narayan seva is the new addition to the list of local charities helping those in need.<br/>
NARAYAN Seva, in these difficult times and with shelter in place order it has limited many senior citizen’s ability to visit grocery shops or do other chores outside of their homes in a safe manner. A group of volunteers supported by the ICC are delivering lunch and dinner to seniors at their home.
Narayan Seva started on 29-March-2020 serving 134 seniors citizens. To date, over 2500 meals/month have been served in Cupertino, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont. Take a listen to ICC CEOs interview on Bolly92.3 to learn of the ways they have had to adapt in these times.
May 1, 2020
Chinmaya Mission San Jose seeded the covid-19-response fund with $15000 – and there’s been a strong start of donations pouring in from the community. As of this week $13000 has been disbursed – as cash and in-kind donations. More donations continue to be pledged as the word gets out – thanks for your support.
And we heard back from some of our heroes in the field, when they took a break from their important work. Thank you!
Essential Workers at Cal High School, San Ramon – As a token of our recognition of what they do, we delivered Safeway gift cards to this group that goes on serving.
www.communityseva/covid: Nathan Ganeshan <email@example.com>: We got the check for $10K. thank you so much for the generosity and kind donations. I am happy to share the great news that we celebrated our 7th Seva anniversary on June 6th.
- These times are trying. A single virus has turned life upside down for every person on the planet. A brutal act, taking away an innocent man’s life, has caused emotional and physical turmoil through the entire country. Through it all, we constantly see selfless acts of kindness all around us. People and their actions are bringing communities together to create a positive impact. …read more in the newsletter.
- I also wanted to update you that since the last 2 weeks, we started supporting homeless individuals who are living out of RV’s and Cars in 5 different locations. Definitely the donations from CMSJ and other organizations is helping us to expand our Seva to those in need.
- July 2020 – saw the addition of service to the homeless seniors in Oakland – take a listen to Nathan Ganeshan, Founder of Community Seva. (A longer version 12minute clip is on youtu.be).
- September 2020 – 25,000 meals in 24 weeks !!! It’s been 6 months since the shelter in place order was placed. It’s not the same life as before for everyone, especially for our unhoused, it’s much harder. facebook.com/Community Seva
www.homefirstscc.org/covid19-response:Andrea Urton <firstname.lastname@example.org>: This email is being written to express my sincere gratitude for your support. Today sitting at my desk with my dog Lulu by my side I was given a letter from your organization. It contained a letter of support for our grassroots organization and a check for $5,000. I was overwhelmed by your generosity and wanted to take a moment and thank you personally. It is support from our fellow community members that will allow us to eventually eradicate homelessness from our community. Thank you for being part of the solution and welcoming HomeFirst and those we serve into your hearts and minds.
India Community Center:Rupal Dandia: We wanted to let you know that we received your very generous donation. We are deeply grateful to you for helping us out so that we can continue to serve the seniors and carry out the mission of ICC. During this challenging time, the Chinmaya Mission has not only helped us financially but also given a big boost to our morale. We continue to burn over $100,000 per month and at least 20 of our staff remain furloughed. Our board and many well wishers like your selves have come forward to support us. We absolutely can’t thank you all enough.
Tower Foundation of SJSU email@example.com: The generous gift of $5,000 from the mission will play a vital role in sustaining pantry operations. Contributions to the Spartan Food Pantry Operating fund provide the pantry increased flexibility in responding to the rapidly changing service and operational demands that it faces with increasing frequency as we remain open throughout COVID-19. This has included supporting procurement of new operating supplies and equipment (face masks, plexiglass screens at service counters, etc.), supporting continued staffing of the student assistants who help us keep the pantry open more hours, to directly purchasing essential menstrual and personal hygiene items for our students that we are unable to receive from our partners at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley.
Life Services Alternatives:Celia Moreton: Thank you so much for the generous donation from the Chinmaya Mission San Jose. The money will go a long way toward purchasing all the PPE and sanitizing products that our residents and staff need to stay safe from COVID-19. We are very proud that to date, none of our developmentally disabled adult residents or staff members has contracted the virus in any of our 14 homes.
In addition, due to the COVID virus, we had to delay filling two new homes that were ready for residents. This means we are paying mortgages, utilities and staff that was hired for those homes and money is not being generated by occupants.