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Food for Life – Every Sunday in Houston

All it takes is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a piece of fresh fruit, and one half-pint of juice to keep a child from going hungry for a day.

This is why each week since April 2004, groups of about 15 to 20 volunteers have been coming out to The Hare Krishna Temple of Houston to prepare sack lunches consisting of sandwiches, fruit, and juice for an estimated 300 to 500 hungry children. Every Sunday between the hours 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the dining hall of the temple is turned into an assembly line of sorts with some of the volunteers lined up spreading peanut butter or jelly on bread; others focus on bagging the sandwiches; still others fill brown paper bags with fruit and juice and line them up in rows on two long tables.
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Food for Life Goes On

When I first stared to volunteer for food for life back in Sep 2007, I had not imagined that it would become a part of me just as much as I was a part of it. I very clearly remember the group of  around 15 volunteers who had gathered in the halls of Hare Krishna Temple on that warm sunday afternoon. Being my first time and among people I had not met before, I was a little apprehensive about how the whole experience would turn out. As they say, the first step is the hardest , it wasnt long before my fears turned out to be straw monsters, they disappeared just as soon my eyes met the warm smiles of the people around. A feeling I could not then understand started to take over, it didnt feel so much unusual anymore. It was like I was gently being lifted from my darkness to a soothing soft light.

Now almost 2 years down, I still struggle to understand the force which drives us to serve someone beyond our own self.  Maybe its one of the basic elements of nature which goes down to our very existence. What I do know is that when we gather every sunday and just as soon as the tables are laid out and bottles of jelly emptied and mixed, it manifests itself as rythm to which we rejoice as we go through the process of making those 300 sandwiches over and over again.

I am glad, that through the help of all the vounteers and supporters here in Houston, we are able to carry on and hopefully be able to expand in the future.   The participation we have had over the last few weeks has been exceptional , we have regularly had new volunteers join including groups like the Girls Scout, the Humanitarian Society to name a few.  This sort of participation has been personally very motivating for me, just to see such a selfless gesture from  so many people itself is a reason big enough to keep programs like FFL alive.

– Abhinav Kumar

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