Dozens of volunteers from the Mandir spent Sunday 1st October 2017 collecting food items from donors at local supermarkets in support of a local foodbank, Sufra.

Sunday marked Sewa Day - an international day of action on which thousands of good-hearted people across the world come together to perform Sewa (literally translated as performing an act of kindness without expectation of reward) – and so it was a great day to kick off our charity campaign that will be a big part of our Diwali and Hindu New Year festival.

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj teaches us, “Dedicating one's life to the service of others is the truest celebration of a festival” and so we are turning those words into action. The food collection, which will continue throughout the festival, is part of our wider charity campaign that includes us hosting DKMS on New Year’s Day to help them delete blood cancer, and our 11th blood donation session on Sunday 29th October.

In just one day, we collected over 1,000 tinned food items, some 150 packets of cereal, nearly 400 packets of pasta, 500 packets of biscuits, 35 bags of sugar, as well as tea, coffee, juice, oil, long-life milk and essential toiletries, from hundreds of generous donors at Sainsbury’s and ASDA stores. Along with what we collect throughout Diwali and New Year, the food will all donated to Sufra NW London – a foodbank that we have worked with before. Did you know that over 1,182,000 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in the past year in the UK – 436,000 to children? This shows just how important organisations like Sufra are, and why we should be so proud to help them.

One of the youngest volunteers, 10 year old Smit Varsani said, “I really enjoyed asking all the shoppers to make a donation. They were all so generous. It was a long day, and I was tired at the end, but I knew that the little effort that I was making would be filling the tummy of a hungry person.”