ROCKAWAY, NEW JERSEY , USA, December 7, 2022 / Sewa Diwali, a large food drive organized by Dharmic communities across the country, donated over 630,000 pounds of food in the U.S. this year, benefiting over 200 organizations from 32 states, including food pantries, homeless shelters, worship houses, and schools. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) volunteers enthusiastically coordinated these efforts regionally and nationally.
This year’s Sewa Diwali saw active and spirited participation from Sikh Gurudwaras, Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temples, Yogic organizations, Interfaith organizations, Indian American cultural and linguistic associations, and thousands of families and individuals all over the land. Several dharmic organizations such as BAPS, Chinmaya Mission, Arya Samaj, and Sewa International collected food among their supporters.
Aimed at fostering togetherness and promoting the concept of Sewa (selfless giving), Sewa Diwali provides a platform for Dharmic and Indic communities to organize food drives during Diwali. Starting in October to mark the celebrations of Diwali, the Dharmic Festival of Lights, the drive runs through the end of November. Sewa Diwali extended to more than 200 Cities and towns in 2022, its fifth consecutive year. Since its inception in 2018, the Sewa Diwali project has donated close to 1.5 Million pounds of food nationwide.
Sewa plays a crucial role in an individual’s life from a dharmic tradition. For example, all dharmic communities believe in the principle ‘parōpakārārtham idam sharīram’ (Sanskrit: “broadly meaning a person lives to serve others selflessly”). Pam Bozano, the Site Director of Nobel Prep for the Boys and Girls Club at Stonybrook Middle School, IN, thanked SewaDiwali for its generous donation. She said, “There is a big food disparity in this community. So we are very grateful and appreciative that this donation benefits our kids and their families during the holiday season.”
The Plano Texas Police Department appreciated SewaDiwali in their Facebook posting: “It was a blessing to see the overwhelming participation from all corners of the DFW [Dallas-Fort Worth] area, with multiple communities and Hindu American organizations participating in this Sewa activity.” The Plano Police department worked with SewaDiwali to transport 27,892 lbs. of food at the North Texas Food Bank.
Sewa Diwali, National Coordinator Anil Kothari said, “In its fifth year now, SewaDiwali continues to bring people closer together for “universal good.” The enlightening spirit of Diwali shone forth to bring light into the lives of the needy, thanks to our benefactor partners, communities, and individuals all over the country! We’re delighted that Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and other Dharmic communities of America came together again to serve society through food donation.”