Indian American celebs raise $400 K for Covid-19 relief in India

New York: A fund-raising event in New York City brought together prominent personalities from the Indian-American community and their friends to raise over $400,000 for Covid-19 relief in India via Goonj — an NGO in India and a partner of ChaloGive for India, which is an ongoing fund-raising effort by Indiaspora.
The NYC fundraiser campaign — jointly hosted by philanthropic organisations Indiaspora and 1 Billion Breaths founded by restaurateur Basu Ratnam — was named Kindred Kitchen and was led by some of the best Indian restaurants in the world to raise money and awareness in support of the subcontinent.

“Kindred Kitchen presented a new opportunity for Indiaspora to continue raising awareness and funds for Covid relief in India, especially as the need continues to shift from the cities to more villages, and livelihood and food insecurity are a growing concern,” said MR Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora. At the event, he spoke about imagining what it would be like to go from house to house to assess a family’s situation after a primary breadwinner had passed away from Covid-19.

“We are so grateful for the continued outpouring of support for our Covid relief efforts. To date, the Indian diaspora has given nearly $10 million for Covid relief efforts through our platform and other initiatives, such as Help India Breathe with life purpose coach Jay Shetty, Help Tamil Nadu Breathe, and now Kindred Kitchen,” he added.

Other speakers at the event included author Suketu Mehta, well-known lawyer Preet Bharara, who spoke about his GoFundMe campaign for Indiaspora’s Covid relief efforts in which he has raised more than $137,000, largely through Twitter, by introducing academic Tom Nichols to Indian food. It also involved documentary filmmaker, activist, entrepreneur and former Miss America Nina Davuluri.

“We’re the richest, best educated, highest achieving community in America. We need to stretch out a hand to the country we or our ancestors came from. Like the hands coming out of the trains in Bombay,” Suketu Mehta said during the dinner.

Basu Ratnam — owner of INDAY eateries in Manhattan who conceived the idea and co-hosted Kindred Kitchen — said, “Following the global restaurant campaign we established with 1 Billion Breaths, I felt the best way to continue supporting Covid relief efforts in India was through a more intimate event where people could connect with each other, and India, through home-cooked recipes.”

“We had overwhelming interest and were able to pull together some of the most interesting names in our diaspora. I’m humbled and energized by the support and will use it as a foundation to keep building our community,” Ratnam added

Celebrities who contributed recipes for the dinner included model, author and TV host Padma Lakshmi, actor Mindy Kaling, chef and author Nik Sharma, food writer Priya Krishna, and wife of the late Floyd Cardoz, Barkha Cardoz. “Food and community go together and sustain us all. Having an opportunity to help our fellow Indians via our family recipes and Floyd’s memories was such an honour,” Cardoz said. Her speech in the memory of her husband who succumbed to Covid last year was about the need to raise awareness for Covid relief and her motivation to contribute to the event in memory of Floyd.

Restaurateur Basu Ratnam founded 1 Billion Breaths co-hosted the event with Indiaspora.

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