Detroit Satsang Community Outreach
“By doing selfless service for at least one day, everyone should help the poor and needy. It is Amma’s prayer that at least this small dream be realized.”
Detroit Satsang is a branch satsang of Amma Center of Michigan. It is one of the branches of the huge tree of Embracing the World that has thousands of arms spreading itself in love and service to humanity. Here is a short account of the regular activities of the satsang in service to its community and neighborhood.
Food, Clothing and More
Detroit Satsang in tandem with the Amma Center of Michigan hosts a January Winter Drive for the Welcome Inn, S. Oakland Citizens for the Homeless (S.O.C.H.) in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Every January for over 10 years we have provided this warming center with items and donations that will be most useful to help keep the center open for those in need. This day center for homeless citizens provides shelter, healthy meals, social services, hygiene needs, help with addictions, etc., during the coldest winter months of the year. Our Amma group shares with these brothers and sisters warm clothing, hygiene and health products, food items for their pantry, new underwear and clothing, backpacks, and gift cards to the center so that they can purchase items that they are most in need of. This last winter the shelter was so very full do to record number of days with sub zero temperatures and record snowfalls.
In addition to the above, S.O.C.H. is also the home of our Detroit Satsang Mother's Kitchen. During the winter months we serve a weekly hot breakfast to 50-100 individuals at 7a.m., Wednesday mornings. The breakfast is very popular with the guests and we call it grits with all the trimmings. Sharp shredded cheese, hot sauce, fresh milk and butter, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, juice and coffee. Although Amma's guys help too, they call us the "grits ladies" and Wednesday mornings are popular!
Here are a few comments from our Amma volunteers about doing this seva:
"...loved serving with such an AWESOME group of wonderful people."
- Ajitha Kymal
"It was a wonderful experience for me, and I always found it to be a blessing to my week!"
- Matt Fillion
"Everyone had such beautiful energy and seemed to be truly HAPPY to be there..."
- Sara-Eleanor Yarbrough
For many years we donated all of our harvest to a local foodbank. This year to get more people involved and interested in growing food we decided to share the harvest with our Satsang members. This direct hands on approach was very useful. Next year we have talked about expanding the garden so that we can grow for our families as well as for those in need.
Below is the personal account of Matt Fillion:
This year I have had the great privilege of hosting my Satsang's community garden. My backyard has the space and sunlight, so we all agreed on the location. The experience has been blessed in many ways, and I feel that many people have been inspired by the results.
Our group wasn't able to meet at a regular time, but the turnout was good when we did come together. (5-10 people). Group activities included the construction of a garden bed from scratch, composting, construction of a rain barrel, weeding, and planting. If we couldn't meet for harvesting, food from the garden was brought to our Satsang.
Our sessions always began with a prayer, and the Tulsi plants being grown for Amma's programs shared their soothing energy in the background. On occasion we were able to chant the 108 names of Tulsi as a group, circling the plants as described in Amma's Tulsi book. We tried to always start and end our sessions with prayers to Amma.
The garden had a very distinct look, with materials (and ideas) coming from many different devotees. Many of the plants were heirloom varieties, and by June there were wonderful shades of green, orange and purple. Even the plants themselves seemed delighted to be in Amma's garden! I brought some purple pea pods to Amma on the summer tour, and while I was excited to be offering something 'home grown', I also remembered that it was a group effort. When my Darshan came, Amma took a bite out of one of the pea pods, and with a wonderful smile, gave me the other half.
Each gardening session was scheduled to end with a light snack, but every time the snack became a feast, as people brought delicious and healthy entrees. We enjoyed being together and often ate outdoors. For our final day in the garden before frost, we harvested the remainder of produce and prepared a spontaneous meal as a group. The food was wonderful, and everyone had a fun time together. We are all enthusiastic and inspired to continue our efforts next year!
No Vacation for Service
For a little over a year (2013 – 2014) with support of the Amma Center of Michigan, the local Detroit satsang group participated in a seva collecting and distributing toiletries to Detroit area homeless individuals and those in need. As homelessness takes no vacation, there was year round involvement, meaning we showed up in rain, snow or shine. We helped support the nutritious lunch that was provided often to two hundred people lined up outdoors. Besides toiletries, which were enormously popular we also provided fresh homemade baked goods, reading glasses, backpacks, essential clothing items including 100's of new warm gloves and socks. We always had healthy snacks that could be tucked into a backpack for those living on the streets.