San Ramon Satsangs Community Outreach
Southern Bay Area has a lot of Embracing the World Volunteers(ETW) who are inspired by Amma to serve the community. These volunteers are adults, children supervised by their parents and many a time it is a family activity of giving.
It was a beautiful Sunday Morning. The sound of pots and pans sounded like music in these homes as they were all working together laughing and singing as they lovingly built their sandwiches. They have been doing this regularly for the past ten years. Each group of families take turns to make about 90 lunch bags filled with delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a fruit, chips and juice. The lunch bags are then delivered to Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose. The Church is located in downtown San Jose. It has a wide-open window from which people on the street, regardless of their religious orientation, ethnicity, or life circumstance can pick up the packed lunch bags.
Second Sunday of the month ETW volunteers in South Bay once again join hands to serve dinner as a part of Mother's Kitchen activities in San Jose. They serve dinner to an Emergency Shelter that houses 35, 1-2 parent families for up to 90 days. Hot dinner is prepared by the volunteers and served to about 50-70 members of this Shelter. The meal is prepared chanting and sharing stories. Kids above 12 years have also been participating in serving dinner. A lot of care and love goes into planning the meal. A typical dinner menu would include salad, pasta and sauce, stir-fried vegetables, bread, fruits, dessert and something special for children. We are looking forward to continuing this simple but sweet act of serving at the shelter in the coming years. This also has been a wonderful seva opportunity for families to practice Amma’s message of serving the underprivileged.
Rice Plus project has been active for more than 25 years in Carmel by a family inspired by Amma’s example and message. Inspired by their service to the immigrant families in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, South bay families also wanted to contribute in a small way. Packing about 50 – 100 lbs of rice and beans into 2 lb bags began as a Children’s Program in the South Bay known as Balakendra included this activity about 6 years ago. Now we have families in south bay packing rice, beans, flour, sugar and oil throughout the year for donation to immigrant farm workers and also at a center in Los Altos.
South Bay Children’s Program (Balakendra)
Valentine ’s Day is a time to express our love and to share. South Bay Balakendra children and families take this occasion to share their joy with elderly at Idylwood Senior Facility in Sunnyvale. The children start learning and practicing songs on love, nature and Amma’s English bhajans or devotional songs from January onwards. They also prepare hand-made greeting cards. About 15 – 16 children along with their siblings and parents gather at the senior facility to sing songs, give them greeting cards, flowers and candies. It has been a wonderful opportunity that we have had for the past 5 years to visit the senior facility. On other occasions during the year, Balakendra children in groups of 3 – 4 have been able to continue visiting the center to play instrumental music, read stories from Amma’s books and sing songs.
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church
Amritavarsham 60(Amma’s 60th Birthday) was a major inspiration for the South Bay ETW volunteers to start new projects of giving back to the community. One of the projects started in 2013 is an annual donation drive for the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church. It is led by Father Francisco who works with immigrant Hispanic workers and their children in giving them avenues for learning English and staying connected with the more established Hispanic population. We bought school supplies including back-packs for children attending classes at the Church in Fall 2013. In 2014, we did a donation drive for the Church struggling to make ends meet.
Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM)
South Bay ETW volunteers have been serving the homeless who attend services at CHAM since Amritavarsham 60. Many attendees of CHAM come from ‘The Jungle’, the biggest homeless encampment in the country, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. 2014 was expected to be an El Nino year and so the south bay group had a donation drive for providing supplies needed for the Homeless to stay warm and dry. We collected donations in cash and kind – used the cash to buy supplies such as warm socks, beanies, knit gloves, ponchos, mylar blankets and sleeping bags, toiletries, first aid supplies, etc.
M.A.Center,San Ramon volunteers supply year round donations of food to Contra Costa and Solano Counties Food Bank. The donated food goes to needy families and individuals in the community. This program is supported by many food donors who deliver food bags to MA Center, measured in tons.