Since 2018 Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS USA) has been organizing the Sewa Diwali initiative throughout the United States. Sewa means selfless serving and Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights representing the victory of good over evil, usually celebrated in October.
During Sewa Diwali 2021, 315 Dharmic-American organizations and communities gathered over 590,000 pounds of food donated to about 240 food pantries during Thanksgiving across the country. The effort was extended across 31 states and involved over 200 townships.
In 2021, with the help of 35 food collection centers (individuals' homes and temples) in Chicagoland, we collected more than 18,000 pounds of food donated to 12 food pantries.
In 2022, the Sewa Diwali was organized from Sept 24 to Nov 20. During this time, individuals and participating Hindu dharmic organizations conduct local food drives, go door to door in the neighborhood, and collect non-perishable food items as per the need of local food pantries. Sewa Diwali Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Carpentersville, and Bensenville volunteers have collected about 6250 pounds of food and donated to Schaumburg Township, Hanover Township, Itasca Cares, F.I.S.H. (Friends, I shell Help, Carpentersville) food pantries.
2022 Sewa Diwali process: In the opening week of Oct 4 HSS volunteers created posters and banners and then distributed campaign materials to interested individuals and organizations to set up collection centers by registering on the sewadiwali.org website. A participating entity can choose a beneficial food pantry, and start collecting food items. In the ending week of Nov 20, participating individuals, organizations, and volunteers along with youth visit food pantries to donate collected food and other contributions.
On Nov 8, 2022, volunteers visited Itasca Food Pantry and donated 950 pounds of collected food.
On Nov 18, 2022 (morning), volunteers visited the F.I.S.H. pantry in Carpentersville to donate 1600 pounds worth of food and collections.
Again on Nov 18, 2022 (evening) volunteers stopped at Schaumburg Township Food Pantry to donate 1200 pounds of food items. We are thankful to Hoffman Estates Mayor, Schaumburg Police Commander Joe Dugan and police officers, Schaumburg Township trustee Lauren Saternus and Melissa Williams from Schaumburg Township for their presence to support the food donation event to boost the morale of our volunteers.
On Nov 19, 2022, volunteers visited Hanover Township Food Pantry to donate 2500 pounds of food and conclude the 2022 Sewa Diwali.
On Nov 21, 2022, the Village of Hoffman Estates recognized Sewa Diwali 2022 by providing a proclamation and declaring Nov 18th, 2022 as a Sewa Diwali Food Drive day with the below comments.
“Village of Hoffman Estates mayor William D. McLeod proclaims Friday, November 18th, 2022 as Sewa Diwali Food Drive day in the village of Hoffman Estates and urges all Hoffman Estates citizens, business owners, and visitors to participate in its observance. Hoffman Estates civic leaders give thanks to the many individuals and organizations that are part of the 2022 Sewa Diwali Food Drive for their efforts to bring joy and peace to families in Hoffman Estates and surrounding areas.”
HSS is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, organized under the laws of the United States for the purpose of education and community service. HSS mission is to bring together the American Hindu society, pass on our Hindu culture to our future generations, and collectively contribute to and serve our local communities in the US.
HSS promotes self-discipline, self-confidence, and a spirit of selfless service for humanity through its structured values education program for Hindu