95 Adopted Communities Global Initiative: Santa Ana, Southern California
As part of the Sri Sathya Sai International Organization’s (SSIO) global initiative to adopt 95 communities1 in honor of Sai Baba’s 95th birthday in 2020, the Southern California Region has adopted and continues to serve needy school children and their families in the Santa Ana community.
The service began in 2014 through a collaboration with a school counselor from the Santa Ana School District. The counselor informed Sai Center members that many students often missed school because they lacked basic necessities like shoes, eye glasses, or shampoo to treat lice. For instance, when school officials investigated a family with four children with severe school absenteeism, they found that the four children shared just one pair of shoes amongst them. So only one child could attend school on any given day. SSIO members stepped in to provide shoes for each of the four children and now, all four are able to attend school every day.
The project has evolved over the years. Currently, the Santa Ana School District identifies one hundred needy families who desperately need groceries to feed their children. The Sai Center members in the region provide each family every month with baskets of staple groceries, including pinto beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, corn masa flour, oat mix, macaroni and cheese, cooking oil and granola bars, giving the children a chance to attend school with at least their basic needs met. In the past year, about 125 pairs of shoes and 200 containers of lice shampoo have also been donated. In some cases, families have also been provided with mattresses, as multiple families may share an apartment and they may not have enough mattresses to sleep on.
Besides serving the Santa Ana school children in need, SSIO members from the region also care for the wider Santa Ana community by preparing and serving hot breakfast and hot lunches to about 2200 homeless persons each month. They also donate clothing, sleeping bags and school supplies.
1 As an offering of love to Sri Sathya Sai Baba on His 95th Birthday, the SSIO initiated a program titled Global Adoption of 95 Communities to adopt at least 95 communities around the world, in a sustainable manner. The mission is to make a difference in the lives of needy people by providing education, healthcare, food, shelter, drinking water, and other services. For more information on the Adoption of 95 Communities Worldwide, please click here: http://sathyasai.org/95communities