Mid-Atlantic Region: COVID-19 Pandemic Response
From delivering meals to an overwhelmed Maryland ICU staff to providing masks to hospitals and homeless shelters, Sathya Sai centers across the Mid-Atlantic Region have reached out to assist those severely impacted by COVID-19.
In Maryland, members of the Sathya Sai Center of South Bethesda show their appreciation every week to frontline workers who tirelessly provide round-the-clock care to those who have contracted the coronavirus. Center members order and deliver a nutritious lunch every Friday to 40 medical professionals at the Holy Cross Hospital ICU staff in Silver Spring, MD. According to the Center President, “We have received text messages from the staff saying the lunches have been a blessing because they are often overwhelmed and don’t have time to go out for fresh food.” The Center has also provided lunches to local shelters that have seen an increase in residents during the pandemic. Additionally, non-perishables have been supplied every month to a local food bank, while canned goods and toiletries have been ordered from Target and delivered to Ecumenical Community Helping Others, a nonprofit that helps families in need.
At the Sathya Sai Center of Edison, New Jersey, volunteers have been participating in a "Sew for Sai" face mask service project, where they made and distributed more than one thousand masks to various hospitals and shelters across New Jersey. In addition, since April 2020, Center members have been distributing food to patients with mental health or developmental disabilities who are either homeless or live in shelters and group homes. They have also provided lunch every month to more than 500 individuals at the Park Hotel Boarding Home in Plainfield, NJ; Ozanam Center in Edison, NJ; SHIP (Samaritan Homeless Interim Program) in Somerville, NJ; and Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in Brunswick, NJ. Lunch usually consists of hot meals, pizza and sandwiches.
In Baltimore, given the increase in economic hardships faced by families due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sai volunteers have increased their donation of non-perishable foods and dry goods to a volunteer-run soup kitchen and food pantry, FISH of Laurel. Sathya Sai Center members also continue to conduct a monthly contactless food service at FISH. Volunteers cook dinner entrees following a standard recipe. The menu is changed each month and range from curry with rice to baked ziti. Several large trays of food are then delivered to the soup kitchen and frozen, to be used on days when the soup kitchen does not have enough volunteers.
The Sathya Sai volunteers of the Mid-Atlantic Region have expressed a desire to assist communities which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many feel grateful for the opportunity to serve and be useful during this lockdown period.