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Idli, vada & chutney: A Family Recipe to Raise Funds for Sewa

11 Jun 2021 12:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

-Nimish Rastagi

Parth is 17 years old and is a junior at the Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware. He has many relatives living in India, including his grandparents. He has been closely following the COVID-19 situation in India. It was appalling for him to see how an acute shortage of essential medical supplies and equipment, such as oxygen and ventilators, is leading to a large number of deaths across the country. He felt that though he could not be there physically, he should try to help. He thought of raising funds through an activity and started looking for an organization that is buying lifesaving medical equipment, like oxygen-concentrators and ventilators, and shipping to hospitals across India.

We, as his parents, felt proud of his initiative and discussed with him on how to turn it into an actionable campaign. After researching several options, including buying equipment and shipping to India ourselves, we concluded that Sewa International is the best platform for serving the community for this and other causes. After deciding on the Sewa platform, Parth developed the campaign content and requested us to reach out to Sewa for approval.  

Parth came up with an idea of preparing and selling Indian food items that are nutritional, and affordable. We decided to keep the expected contribution per box to $10 as we wanted to attract many people making small contributions rather than a few people making large contributions. We evaluated many food items such as pav-bhaji and manchurian fried rice, and decided on idli / vada with chutney and sambar.  

To spread the word, we used text messaging and requested patrons to order in advance. To our surprise, we got far more orders than expected. Though they found it challenging to keep up, Parth and his mom continued to take orders till the last day as every contribution was going to help. We had to make several trips to local Indian store to augment the raw material and food containers as orders kept adding up. 

 Parth’s mom prepared the batter for the food a day in advance and the whole family got up real early to cook on the day we distributed the food. A few family friends and their kids were excited by the idea, and came in to help us in packing. We distributed food to the people who could not come and pick it up. The whole event was a huge success as we raised more than $1,200.

After the event, a few middle-school kids, including those who helped us, reached out to Parth for more insight and how they could be part of the campaign. Parth and other children explored the idea of doing sub-campaigns with different types of events, such as Indian food sale, dress-down day, virtual bingo night, and more. They are currently planning to conduct another fundraising event in the coming days.

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