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.
We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Tax ID #77-0315648) United Way ID designated to Chinmaya Mission San Jose is 212100