Hindu Temple Awards Funds to Community Groups

Grant in Aid 3-22-14 337

The Shiva Vishnu Temple’s soaring white gopura, the ornate tower at the temple’s entrance, is awe-inspiring against Livermore’s deep blue sky, but the people gathered within are beyond warm and welcoming.
“Our motto is, ‘Serving God through serving mankind,'” said Kruthi Shah, emcee of the Hindu Community and Cultural Center (HCCC)’s annual Grant in Aid Ceremony on March 22nd.
“Grant in Aid is in the spirit of giving back to the community,” said Karunakar Gulukota, chairman of the Human Services Functional Committee. “The HCCC stands for community overall, and is sincerely making efforts to bring a positive difference to our community. Our facilities are open to everyone who could make suitable use of them while being mindful of the fact that it is attached to the Hindu Temple.”

Since 1987, around $30,000 each year is granted to non-profit organizations that focus on meeting a wide range of human needs, particularly those ensuring food, shelter, health and education.
“It’s my absolute privilege and honor to be here before you on behalf of the Livermore school district and its 12,500 students,” said Superintendent Kelly Bowers. “You have been incredibly generous for many, many years. First and foremost, you give us wonderful children ready to learn and who have high goals and aspirations.

“Then your direct generosity is amazing. We benefit doubly because in some cases you give to a school program, but when you give to other services like food banks or fire and police departments, you’re still helping our youth and children. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Nearly 30 non-profits were chosen this year to receive grants which varied in amount according to the organization’s needs, size and programs.
Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Chief Jim Miguel accepted a grant of $1,200 that will help those impacted by fires and local emergencies, along with assisting firefighter’s families when needed.

“The generosity and thoughtfulness of the Hindu community touches the lives of thousands of people in the greater Bay Area every year,” said Miguel. “I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate the Hindu culture, to see the beauty of their traditions, and I love the authentic Indian food.”
Along with civic leaders Bowers and Miguel, Livermore Mayor John Marchand and Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris attended the ceremony. The four, draped with vibrant shawls, helped hand out the grants.

“Shawls are given to the guests as a mark of gratitude and respect,” said Gulukota. “It’s the Hindu way of honoring our guests at grand events.”
The ceremony opened with a cultural program that included dancers performing traditional dances in the Temple’s new Lakireddy Auditorium.
“This auditorium was inaugurated last August as a part of the new facilities built to cater to the needs of the community,” said Gulukota of the auditorium that’s named for its largest donor. “It has state of the art audio and lighting systems necessary to host music programs and concerts.”
Grant in Aid is one of several outreach programs offered by the HCCC. Others include free health screenings, bone-marrow donor registration, canned food drives, and yoga and meditation classes.

Funds for the grants are raised through donations by temple attendees as well as from drives focused on supporting the Human Services Committee. This year’s grant recipients include Alameda County Food Bank, Fertile GroundWorks, Geeta Society, Open Heart Kitchen, Tri-Valley Haven, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies, the Kid Connection and Horizons Family Counseling.

Representatives from each non-profit spoke briefly about their organization’s mission and how the grant would be used.
“Horizons has been around for 40 years,” said Lynn Gardner, Acting Youth and Family Services Manager. “We work with families in crisis, and we also work with the school district because that’s where the first line of defense is. Organizations like HCCC’s Human Services really do make a difference in terms of our being able to do the job we have chosen to do. The dollars you give are being used to make an impact not only now but also in the lives of families for generations to come. We are extremely happy to be able to use the resources you’ve given us to make that happen.”

For more information visit www.livermoretemple.org.

Source: The Independent