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Service events in Houston, TX

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Houston Continues…

Abhinav from Houston helped organize a meeting of volunteers in Houston over the last weekend.  The meeting was designed to give the volunteers an opportunity to interact as well as to discuss ways of improving their weekly Food for Life program.  I wasn’t at the meeting but I was really inspired just by the fact that they met so I’ve posted their meeting minutes here:

Hey All,

I think it would be an understatement to say that we had a great meeting on friday evening. It was so much beyond what I could have ever imagined and must say we truly had the most wonderful time together. So let me start with a big thanks to everyone who was part of the experience. We had a so many great suggestions and so much enthusiasm, I think we have to come to a point where we acknowledge how this program has impacted our lives and what it truly means to be a part of it. There is really no need for me to stress on the fact that we must manifest in ourselves that what we need to change in the world, and I can confidently say, we are all way past that and kudos to everyone who has been a part of FFL and be the cause!
Very quickly I would make an effort to summarize the meeting:
Venue : Audra’s Apartment
Date & TIme :  April 30th, 7 PM
The Highest priority is to increase our involvement in the Kids meal project. We need to go on the sandwich distribution rides on monday with the hope of better understanding the program. THe key learning would involve, buliding relationships with the kids and their parents, understand their needs and perspective on FFL, look into ways of creating a stornger message with a larger impact through this expereince. This can include pictures, testimonials, videos etc. Kym, along with Abhinav, Saurabh and Mr. Parikh would make dedicated efforts in the coming weeks to build on this. The target for a basic campaign which would include few distribution rides is 2 months from the date of the meeting.
Following are the assigned responsibilities for the various tasks to aid the program
Abhinav & Rosie – Volunteer Contacts and awareness building
Audra & Kym – Fund Raising & Supplies
Houston Food Bank and Temple Contacts – Saurabh
Art & Creative Support – Jameeka
Again, keeping it informal, this is just aimed at channeling our efforts and everyone involved is always more than welcome to help the program in whatever way they please :)
Here is the list of actions for the meeting
  • Create sign in sheet for the volunteers – Abhinav (05/07)
  • Followup with temple treasurer for FFL funds – Abhinav (05/21)
  • Create an account with vounteer houston – Abhinav (05/21)
  • High Priority – Call up Ruth, invite her for a talk at FFL – Abhinav (05/21)
  • Mail banner information to Mr Dinesh – Abhinav (05/21)
  • Look into creating online volunteer calendar – Abhinav (05/09)
  • Check with creating an acoount with Sam’s Club – Abhinav (05/31)
  • Post weekly invites on the Facebook calendar and encourage volunteers to Join FFL on facebook – Jameeka
  • Make a design for the FFL banner – Jameeka (06/10)
  • Make a design for FFL T shirts – Jameeka (06/20)
  • Bag sangwiches out in the temple vernadah from 5 to 7 to increase awareness – Saurabh, Abhinav & Mr. Dinesh (05/09)Raise on an average $100 per week by start of July

Again, the dates are just to add a priority and there is no penalty on missing them :D. I think I have pretty much everything we discussed in there, If I have missed out something or if anyone else has another cool suggestion to add to the list, please let us know. Lastly, if you havent already done so, please register with be the cause on http://www.bethecause.org/home.php.  Its a greatway to stayin tune with our Be the cause family!.

The next meeting is planned for 07/10

Phew! took me an hour to compose this one, if you have indeed read the whoke thing, thank you for the rather brave effort, but here is a little consolation for those of you who did get to the end:

http://picasaweb.google.com/abhinav2005/FFLVolunteerMeet?authkey=Gv1sRgCJiU2Nrlhe7HXw&feat=directlink

Lastly, a special thanks to Audra for being a wonderful host twice in a row now!!
Warm Wishes
Abhinav
Attendees:
Audra Noske
The Grey Family
Peter Grey
Rosemarie Grey
Elham
Saurabh
Kym Harris
Dinesh Parikh
Sangeeta Parikh
Abhinav
Other FFL Volunteers:
Damodar Das
Maushmi
Carla
Nazbano
Nick Hostos

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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