New York: Congressman Ami Bera was the chief guest at the unveiling of Sewa International’s report, showcasing the $50 million impact the Hindu faith-based organization has had, partnering with more than 500 other Hindu American organizations since early March last year. The report, titled “Joining Hands: A Community Effort to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic,” was released at a virtual event on February 6, 2021. “What a commendable effort, and what a fine example of bringing organizations together to serve the country during the pandemic,” said Congressman Bera, Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the longest-serving Indian American Member of the U.S. Congress.
Representatives from national emergency and disaster management organizations took part in a roundtable discussion. They said that community and disaster relief organizations can join hands and leverage the help and expertise of the national organizations. Participating in the discussion were Gina Cross, the Acting Director of AmeriCorps NCCC, Dinusha Weerakkody, Emergency Management Specialist of FEMA, Carol Flores, Texas DCMP Grant Coordinator of NVOAD, and Damian Morales, Manager of Disaster Services, OneStar Foundation. Prof. Anurag Mairal, Adjunct Professor of Medicine and the Director, Global Outreach Programs at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Stanford University, moderated the roundtable discussion.
Commending Sewa International through a video message was Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who said that “Sewa International represents the best what America has to offer”. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city was “thankful for Sewa’s work and charitable contributions,” and that Sewa had over the past fifteen years grown from a small to a mid-size charity organization and been recognized by The Houston Chronicle as “one of the top 100 charitable organizations in Houston.”
The Sewa International report identifies 125 of the more than 500 organizations that Sewa volunteers worked with across the country raising money, distributing food, face masks and other PPE, offering help to stranded international students and travelers, participating in food and PPE drives, offering hot meals to the hungry, and managing ten hotlines responding to calls for help from around the world. “We did not know what would be demanded of us in this pandemic situation. It was a first-time experience in dealing with the kind of medical/health disaster that has affected the whole world. We believe we have made a difference in our local communities, across our forty chapters, in 28 states, around the country,” said Arun Kankani, President, Sewa International, inaugurating the session.
“Disbursing more than $2 million that were raised through direct donations and government and institutional grants, and distributing about $50 million worth of food, PPE, medical supplies, and groceries, serving more than 750,000 people in big cities and small towns, our 5,000 volunteers from 28 states have made a bold statement about selfless service,” said Syam Kosigi, Vice President, Organization, Sewa International.”
For more information on Sewa International and its activities, visit www.sewausa.org