How an Indian Immigrant Fed Thousands in Minneapolis During the Pandemic


Minneapolis, MN


Raj Chaudhary, Executive Director, SEWA-AIFW


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Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Thursday, June 25, 2020

“Before the Coronavirus pandemic, we always sat with our seniors when we brought them their meals. We would visit with them and ask them what they needed. These days, we have to maintain a distance and drop the food at their doorsteps.

“Our organization has been serving our 82,000-strong Asian Indian community in Minneapolis for years now. Because of the pandemic, we shifted our programs to focus on the most basic needs of our seniors: providing them with soul-satisfying food that is culturally specific, and that is healthy and tasty. We need to make sure they eat. Let’s give them food they actually like. We want to give them the dignity and respect they deserve after all they’ve given.

“There are many food shelters, but these are unable to address cultural barriers. We take the middle road and serve vegetarian meals. This allows us to feed the Hindu who doesn’t eat beef and the Muslim who can’t eat pork.

“I’m very thankful to our community who have pulled together in this very trying time. At least 100 volunteers have come out and, with their help, we have delivered 1,000 meals. There’s so much love pouring out of them. It’s the most fantastic experience I’ve ever had.

“But is it enough? I worry about our staff getting paid; they have families to take care of. I know we need to build capacity; we don’t even have a proper kitchen for such a huge endeavor. Right now we can only manage to provide meals twice a week, when a person needs to eat three times a day. We need to figure out how to sustain this chain.

“Hopefully, we set a good example and will be able to provide more and more.”

 

 

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