Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Fairfax, VA,  participated in a clothing drive during November and December 2021 and donated over 50 large bags of gently used Indian and Western clothes to the Forgotten Children Worldwide organization.

The Forgotten Children Worldwide organization is a nonprofit that, with the help of thousands of volunteers, ships thousands of pounds of clothing to its indigenous partners in India and Malawi, who distribute the clothing to children in need. In India, clothes are distributed to children living in poverty in villages, tribal areas, orphaned children, and those who live in slums.

According to the service coordinator of the Fairfax Sai Center, the center got involved through one of their members who had been contributing to the organization for a long time. She suggested the idea of a clothing drive to support the nonprofit. Despite the ongoing pandemic and safety concerns, everyone liked the idea and wanted to participate.

Over the course of a month and a half, gently used clothes were dropped off at one of the member’s homes. A team of 9 members, including children and adults, met on December 3 to sort and categorize the clothes that had been received. They worked for nearly three hours, wearing masks and practicing social distancing, all the while listening to Sai bhajans playing in the background. The packed clothes were dropped off at the local Forgotten Children’s office, where they were consolidated with other donations and loaded onto 40-foot containers and shipped to Mumbai, India. The clothes will then be transferred to three different charities across India. 
For Center members, the opportunity to get together and serve was both rewarding and enjoyable. The children enjoyed sorting the clothes, grateful for the opportunity to serve and, at the same time, thankful for how fortunate they were.

One Center members reflected, “it left me with great satisfaction that I had not only decluttered my home and donated clothes, but I was able to help those who could not afford clothing, and had contributed to changing their lives. This service also saves the environment by cutting down on waste, and I feel good about that!”

Yet another Center member said, “The service activity was a welcome opportunity for all center members to come together after being apart for nearly two years due to COVID. For me, I felt invigorated doing hands-on work in sorting and organizing the clothes, and recharged through fellowship with other Sai Center members.”

The service coordinator expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful opportunity to be part of an activity that paved the way for Center members to have a wonderful in-person fellowship after a long time, which made this service truly joyful. We had an overwhelming response from the members for the service and have plans to do it again.”

* Photos of Indian villagers used with permission from Forgotten Children Worldwide.