Amma’s 62nd Birthday Celebration and Community Outreach Activities

Amma’s 62nd Birthday Celebration and Community Outreach Activities
Amma’s birthday was celebrated at the M. A. Center as a whole day event. The day’s celebration commenced with a pada puja for Amma by Bri. Rema Devi, to the empowering accompaniment of the bhajan 'Unarunaru'. The pada puja, 108 Names of Amma and bhajans were followed by performances by the Amrita Balakendra children. Lunch break brought even more beautiful music by Amber & the Mystic Waves and Jonathan Green & Friends. During the afternoon there were many different activities, attended based on personal interest  - Bhajan Class, IAM-20 Meditation Class, Vegetable Gardening Presentation, Birthday Card making for Amma, Henna Designs, Face Painting, Bouncy House for kids, Craft Guild demonstrations, Ayurveda information, plus many types of seva opportunities. The evening program was led by Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya, starting with a satsang and followed by bhajans. After arati, the special birthday dinner and birthday cake were served under the stars. Bhajans with Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya continued on the porch after dinner serving. The day of festivities ended with the reciting of Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu stotram, invoking Devi in the form of all divine forces. 

Community Outreach in Honor of Amma’s Birthday
"Our highest, most important duty in this world is to help our fellow beings." – Amma 
In relation to Amma’s 62nd birthday, M. A. Center planned a series of Community Outreach activities that included volunteering at two different Habitat of Humanity locations and serving lunch at St. Anthony’s Church in San Francisco. Amma’s Kitchen participated in a Peace in the Park Fair by selling tasty Indian food outreach and fundraising. 
A Silent Auction with articles used by Amma and other special items was organized to benefit Amma’s charities under the umbrella of Embracing the World. The bidding ends on October 3, 2015 at 8:15 pm PDT. 
Volunteer Reports: 
September 19 - Habitat of Humanity Santa Clara (By Gopinath Puliyankote)
There were 7 of us from the Ashram for this seva. Seva activity involved painting of their parking lot and donation drop off center sign-boards. Some of us also helped with inventory of donations and clean up. They are preparing this store for opening in October. The store sells donated goods and all proceeds go directly to the Habitat for Humanity projects.
September 19 - Habitat of Humanity Oakland (By Prakash Bhaskaran)
This was a full day seva at the Habitat For Humanity "Restore" warehouse/showroom location in Oakland, near the Coliseum BART station. There were 10 volunteers from M. A. Center. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. The M.A. Center volunteers dis-assembled, cleaned, sorted, labeled and priced donated items to get them ready for sale by placing and organizing them in the showroom shelves and aisles.  This all day activity included dis-assembling donated doors, windows, etc. from their casings and frames, sorting boxes of screws, nails and other hardware, etc.  Thus transforming donated materials to an immediately salable condition. 
Bonus item from this event.. All the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the experience, got to know each other much better (some for the first time), as Amma's Kudumbam (family) ...The Restore Store Manager, Chris, very much appreciated all of our help and said we could come back anytime to help her team, and that we were a great organization and team to work with.
September 19 - Peace in the Park – San Francisco (By Kannan)
M.A. Center joined forces with Brahmakumaris, a worldwide spiritual organization. Our volunteers cooked and served delicious Indian vegetarian meals to over 2000 attendees and 200 volunteers. This is the 2nd consecutive year that M.A. Center has participated in this special event.  It has turned out to be a very successful annual community outreach.
September 19, 26, 27 – Lake County Fire Donation Drive (By Karla)
This month just a 150 miles NE of us, Lake County was affected by a massive fire. 76,000 acres burned, 1000s evacuated, 1238 homes lost.  The devastating fires in Lake County had left many without homes and basic necessities. The Lake County Fire Donation Drive was aimed at getting the most urgent items to the people affected as quick as possible. Amma’s children were very generous with contributions to this Donation Drive. Over 20 boxes of donations collected on the 19th itself. And another lot on the 26th/27th weekend. Two pick-up trucks delivered donations to distribution centers in Napa and Windsor in the North Bay on the 19th. More went on the next weekend. Volunteer help got us smoothly through the logistics of loading the truck and getting the trucks to the Distribution Center etc. It was Amma in action through her volunteers.
September 20 – Serving lunch at St. Anthony’s Church (By Rupa)
St. Anthony's foundation provides 40% of all the free meals served in San Francisco. The team of 20 volunteers from M.A. Center, together with the volunteers at St. Anthony’s, helped serve hot meals to the many who poured into their dining hall, starting at 10 a.m. We served hot meals to over 2000 guests in 3 hours! YAY!