Austin HSS Seva 2020
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is a non-profit organization whose vision is “Vasudaiva Kutumbhakam”, which means the whole world is one family.
Through this vision, HSS strives to bring the society together and achieve world peace through Sanatan Dharma.
My name is Satwika and I am a seventh grader. I have been a part of HSS for six years. HSS promotes “Samskaar” (Good Character), Seva (Selfless service), and Sanghatan (Unity) in the society.
HSS has done lunch drives, park cleanups, grocery delivery, free yoga classes, summer camps, and much more to make an impact in the community.
During this terrifying pandemic of COVID-19, the Austin HSS team has commenced lunch drives to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, police stations, homeless centers, and the trash collectors.
We have done several lunch drives so far and over 300 meals have been delivered.
In the beginning, we used to call them, ask if they wanted our food, and make an appointment, but soon they were calling us instead and booking appointments themselves.
These lunch drives cover Greater Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park. There are more than 60 volunteers who prepare, pack and distribute the food. All the food are nutritious homemade dishes. I like to put the food in the boxes because we do it in an organized fashion, but my favorite part is seeing the happy faces of the front-line workers when we deliver the food. We know there will be many more lunch drives to come.
Since 2019, we have cleaned Ranch Trails Park with the guidance of the Cedar Park Parks & Recreation Agency. We have collected about 30 pounds of trash, and 70 volunteers participated throughout the year. Small children and the elderly have also participated in the cleanups.
Families consider this time as a bonding experience and use the efficient trash pickers the Agency provided us to pick trash. HSS has spent over 200 hours in 2019 for this cause. While picking up garbage, me and other children used to have friendly challenges among us about who could get the most trash.
We were usually stunned by the amount of trash we found. After the cleanup, I would watch the clean grass with other HSS volunteers. Recently, Cedar Park Parks & Recreation Agency has appreciated the HSS team’s Seva and has installed a board in the center of the park that states that Ranch Trails Park is adopted by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the students of the University of Texas and senior citizens could not get their groceries due to a lack of driving and social distancing.
At the time, HSS volunteers took an initiative to help them rise out of this struggle. The volunteers themselves went and brought the groceries and provided a door delivery.
In total, there were over 400 pounds of groceries delivered. HSS also thinks health, fitness, and stress relief is mandatory for families during this pandemic, hence we planned free yoga classes early in the morning. Families can come together and relax their bodies and minds. More than 25 families are regularly coming to these yoga sessions. Women are especially pleased with these courses.
They have experienced a loss of stress and joint pain. This program has been going on for the last six months and you too can join these yoga classes at no cost to you. We also work with sister organizations like Sewa International and helped establish an Austin based helpline to community people to provide logistics, health, food, and travel related common questions.
During the summer, HSS did summer camps for elementary and middle school kids. The summer camps were 10 weeks long and full of joyous activities. The registration money was donated to other non-profit organizations. One of the activities that they did in the camps was yoga. There were over 100 children who attended the summer camps and children were very enthusiastic in learning.
I loved volunteering and doing Seva with other middle schoolers. HSS has opened up a lot of Seva opportunities for me. Seva can help teenagers reduce stress and look at the needs of others instead of oneself. HSS is an organization that focuses on character building and creating leaders to serve society.
HSS also serves the needs of the local communities both during good times and in times of need.
HSS has been doing Seva for several years, and it will continue to help the community and build positive impact in the people and the society.