ROCKAWAY, N.J., June 3, 2021 - Volunteers of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, during the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, worked in their communities and offered help to families, first responders, and healthcare professionals in 27 states and 198 urban centers nationwide.
Continuing the same spirit of community service, also called “Sewa,” HSS volunteers offered “Vaccination Sewa” in their communities. The core concept was to ensure equitable access to vaccination and that everyone stays safe and healthy.
HSS volunteers reached out to communities, brought awareness on COVID-19 related vaccination, and helped the vaccination centers to make the regional vaccination program successful. A few examples follow:
HSS Philadelphia, in coordination with FEMA Region III, organized a campaign, “Sewa with FEMA.” HSS coordinated volunteers from 25 local Indian Associations and Hindu Temples who helped register, screen people, assist people with disabilities, and conducted post-vaccination observation. “They are incredibly eager to be here, and they have the drive to volunteer for a community that some of them are not even a part of,” said Justice Colbert, emergency management specialist at FEMA Region III. HSS and Sewa jointly deployed 351 volunteers logging 2400 hours of support at the Center City Vaccination Center and 21 volunteers providing 98.5 hours at the Esperanza Community Vaccination Center.
In Greenbelt, Maryland, collaborating with seven Indian organizations, HSS supported FEMA in the ongoing vaccination drive. Close to 100 volunteers worked for 200 hours.
In Charlotte, NC, HSS coordinated with Sewa International, Uniting the Church, and Transforming the City while supporting the vaccination center authorities to help people with wheelchair assistance.
Mayors’ offices for Schaumburg Township and Hoffman Estates Village, near Chicago, Illinois, collaborated with HSS to organize vaccination drives of 900 vaccination per event. 23 HSS volunteers helped in making sure that these drives ran smoothly and successfully.
In San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, over 200 HSS volunteers collaborated with Sewa International, mayors’ offices, interfaith organizations, FEMA, Collin County officials, and local pharmacists and organized vaccination camps over four weeks. One unique feature was that HSS volunteers provided vaccination access to minority Nepali and Bhutanese communities with limited mobility due to lack of cars or driving skills.
In Oregon, 60 HSS volunteers work closely with FEMA, All4Oregon organization, and Sewa International. They have committed their time and work until June 2021.
In Denver, Colorado, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office, Sewa International, Hindu Temple, and Cultural Center of the Rockies, and Colorado Community Clinic, HSS conducted Moderna vaccination drives over two weekends and vaccinated over 400 people doses 1 and 2. More than 50 volunteers participated, and two mayors visited the vaccination clinic.
In the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, HSS collaborated with the local Hindu temple, “AshtaLakshmi Temple,” to coordinate a local vaccination drive. Similarly, HSS New Jersey Chapter volunteers worked at Umiya Mata Mandir, helping 400 adults get vaccinated.
In Troy, Michigan, HSS partnered with Sewa International and Walgreens for a community vaccination drive. During this event, 105 residents were vaccinated.
HSS commits to continue volunteering and supporting this mammoth task of mass vaccination and ensuring that our society comes to normalcy soon.