Wednesday, September 14, 2005

SEVA INTERNATIONAL : HELPING HANDS FOR KATRINA VICTIMS - Atlanta











Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


September 14, 2005

Contact for further information:

Gaurav Verma – 678-462-6203
gaurav_verma22@yahoo.com



HELPING HANDS FOR KATRINA VICTIMS - Atlanta



Atlanta volunteers from Sewa International-USA, an organization mobilizing many community service volunteers, and alumni of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have come together to assist families who have been relocated to Atlanta following :Hurricane Katrina..



Thousands of families who have been evacuated from Louisiana and Mississippi and are currently living in hotels, American Red Cross shelters, or churches or staying with friends and families flocked to the Georgia Convention Center on September 11, 2005. Sewa Atlanta chapter coordinator Gaurav set up an information table with the help of volunteers Suja and Meghna. They and other volunteers talked to more than 60 families and noted down their contact information and their needs such as housing and jobs. It was an enlightening experience for all, meeting the affected individuals face-to-face and hearing details of the difficult circumstances of our fellow citizens.



As a result of their research, volunteers were able to put many of those families in touch with the Dalton Red Cross shelter, which had been underutilized although it offered both housing and job search assistance. Ramji Ramchandran of IIT Alumni coordinated phone calls with Dalton Red Cross and the effected families.



Volunteers also assisted Dan, sales manager of a gaming company in New Orleans, who after being required to evacuate, had an auto accident and needed to complete his trip to Atlanta by Greyhound bus. Dan was extremely appreciative of the volunteers who helped him with meals, local transportation and hotel reservations until he could be picked up two days later by a sister from Tennessee.



Volunteers also pooled their frequent flier miles to provide transportation from Houston for the daughter of a lady whose evacuated daughter they had helped locate.



The key contribution of these volunteers has been in bringing together available resources to the needy in a timely, compassionate way. There are many from Indian community who offered help including Shiv Agrawal, businessman and philanthropist, who has offered three months free accommodation for 25 students. Sewa volunteers were able to send some of the student victims to this housing. Jay Kumar Patel, community leader and a leading hotelier, has offered 20 rooms for families displaced by Katrina, in addition to help in getting jobs in Gainsville, Georgia. Another businessman, Manoj, has offered 10-15 jobs in his restaurants. Shree Shakti Mandir, a Hindu temple in south Atlanta, is providing free hot vegetarian meals during lunch and dinner for any evacuee. Mr. M.A. Patel of the temple said, ‘it is our duty to offer this help to people in need’. All five HSS Balagokulams, in association with Shiv Mandir and ICRC temple, have been collecting food items, baby food, and other articles to distribute in shelters. Satya Sai group of Atlanta, a spiritual group, has prepared 100 packets of personal items and provided 25 blankets. They were distributed by Sewa volunteers. The IIT alumni group has offered tutoring services for the hurricane victims.



There are still thousands of hurricane victims in the Atlanta area needing help. The relief agencies need many more volunteers immediately. If you are interested in volunteering to help the Katrina victims, please contact SEWA coordinator Gaurav Verma at 678-462-6203. For more information, visit: www.sewausa.org

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