Seva is an integral part of the Temple activities. Ever since inception, the Temple has provided help to the less fortunate both locally and in other parts of the world. A separate bank account with donations directed towards Seva is maintained at a local bank. A fraction of the collection from the Temple donation box (Hundi) is deposited into the Seva account. A Seva Committee of 5 members supervises this activity.
Feeding the Hungry
The major focus of Seva is feeding the hungry in our community. A monthly donation (which recently has been $720) is made to SAVES (South Antelope Valley Emergency Services), a non- profit run by the City of Palmdale. SAVES utilizes the funds to purchase food from food banks then packages and donates it to hundreds of families in need every Tuesday and Thursday. The Temple has been engaged with SAVES since its inception 7 years ago. To see a hundred families and individuals lined up and receiving food and aid at SAVES is both humbling and provides a reiteration of our Faith. “The world is a family”- Vasudev Kutumbakam
During the peak of the catastrophic COVID-19 infection in India in early 2021, the Temple spearheaded a collection of funds along with Nandalala Mission, Antelope Valley Emergency Physicians and Navya. Creditably over $60,000 was collected in a short period and through the resources of Navya we were able to provide oxygenerators, oxygen concentrators and various health care equipment to 12 hospitals all over India, in Assam, UP, MP, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc. The scale of the operation only reinforced our belief in giving, which is also His gift.
Helping support education has been an important focus of the Temple’s Seva activity. In 2020, we established a “Jagadish Scholarship” at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California. As part of this a selected group of students interact with mentors from the Temple and are provided educational materials, opportunities to meet with professionals, visits to offices and financial support when applying for traveling to college. Besides, during 2021, twenty Jagadish Scholarships of $250 each were awarded.
The Temple has initiated the “Jagadish Fellowship” in 2021. Students doing Masters and PhD in subjects related to Hinduism in universities across the US are encouraged to apply and are given an unrestricted grant of $10,000 each to pursue a specific academic project. Three fellowships awarded in 2021 spanned study of a South Indian musical instrument and music- at Harvard University, study of Hindu groups reaching out to aborigines in Gujrat-at Columbia University and a school of Bharatnatyam dance in Southern California which will produce a performance based on an epic. Applications for 2022 will be solicited soon.
The Jagadish Scholarships and the Jagadish Fellowships are awarded through funds donated specifically for this purpose and do not draw from donations to the Temple.
We look forward to increasing our footprint in the service of the less fortunate, in broadly encouraging education and specifically the study of Hinduism. This will be possible through a lot more like-minded folks joining us .