There is so much good happening in our communities during this festival season. It is all about sharing and caring our fortunes with families who may struggle to make ends meet. Swami Vivekananda, the monk who addressed the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11th, 1893, said, “It is only by doing good to others that one does good to oneself”. In Hindu culture, charitable giving is one of the most important virtues that one takes up at an early age and continues throughout one’s life. People do more charity during Diwali, a popular festival celebrated as ‘festival of lights’ all around the world.
Similarly, Thanksgiving is a festival celebrated in the US as an autumn harvest festival. Thanksgiving is a holiday that dates back to 1621. The Wampanoag Native American people and the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast. It is now celebrated with a traditional meal shared amongst families and friends. It is also the time of the year where everyone steps up to support communities needing help.
There are many prayers of Thanksgiving. This one is from Iroquios tribe.
- We return thanks to our mother, the Earth, which sustains us.
- We return thanks to rivers and streams, which supply us with water.
- We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
- We return thanks to moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the Sun is gone.
- We return thanks to the Sun, that has looked upon the Earth with a beneficent eye.
- Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
This prayer does not differ from Hindu cultural ethos and thought process who are also Nature worshippers for the last 5000 years.
Hindu community choose to donate all the food collected during the festival of Diwali to the community around the Thanksgiving holiday season so that we could bring smile to the faces of distressed families. SEWA Diwali volunteers in the metro-Detroit area (Troy, Rochester hills, Novi, Sterling Heights, Canton, Farmington hills, Ann Arbor) donated 5,520 pounds of non-perishable food items to 5 community organizations across metro-Detroit. This donation would help over 500 families with a nutritious meal.
- 470 pounds donated to Gurudwara in Canton
- 850 pounds donated to Detroit Service Learning Academy, Detroit
- 1200 pounds donated to Southvest Veteran's Shelter, Detroit
- 1000 pounds donated to Gleaners, Pontiac
- 2000 pounds donated to CARES, Farmington hills
Here is what the receiving organizations said.
Detroit Service Learning Academy principal, De’Angelo Alexander said, “together we created a perfect Thanksgiving meal for our kids. The partnership with the Detroit Education Society (DES) is 3 years old. We appreciate the tutoring that is provided virtually. Once again, thank you so much for all the help."
Shri Thanedar, MI State House Rep and US House Rep elect, came as a chief guest to receive SEWA Diwali donations to Southvest Veteran's Shelter in Detroit. He said, “SEWA Diwali has done a good work and brought in thousands of pounds of food. I appreciate Volunteer leads, Saylee and Rajender for your group’s efforts. Thank you for this donation.”