To honor the 91st Birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, centers across the United States undertook a variety of service initiatives. In Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, SSIO members delivered over 275 large grocery bags full of non-perishable food to senior citizens and supplied over 120 boxes of pizza and other nutritious fare to homeless shelters. In Seattle, 91 shoeboxes filled with gifts, clothing, and school supplies were assembled and distributed around the world, in partnership with Samaritan Purse International Relief. In Southern California, volunteers from four Sathya Sai Centers provided 250 families with food, toiletry bags, and blankets, while three other centers distributed hot lunches to 550 homeless and mentally
challenged persons in Santa Ana and Long Beach.

Sheep Saved from Slaughter

During October–November 2016, the Sathya Sai Center of Arcadia, California, arranged for three sheep to be spared from slaughter. Likewise, from the West Coast to the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard, Sathya Sai volunteers worked in shelters, sanctuaries, and on broader environmental projects to preserve animal habitats. For example, in Wisconsin and California, novel initiatives included shoreline cleanups and educational workshops to protect the environment. After a seminar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, SSE children were so inspired to become agents of change that they undertook a 21-day “No Plastic” challenge, to minimize potentially harmful plastic waste. Sathya Sai children and members of the St. Louis, Missouri, and Southern Illinois Sathya Sai Centers participated in an open house at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri, which supports biological diversity and threatened bird species.

In October 2016, SSIO members participated in an interfaith program at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability at Southern Illinois University. On 10th December 2016, SSIO members organized an annual Christmas and Hanukkah celebration at the Unity Church in Newbury Park, Southern California. SSE students performed a skit depicting similarities between the births of Sathya Sai Baba and Jesus Christ. The SSIO also participated in a holiday parade in Memphis, Tennessee, to raise public awareness about human values.

Interfaith program, Southern Illinois University