Diwali Basket Brigade: Bringing light to thousands of lives

Diwali Basket Brigade: Bringing light to thousands of lives

Diwali has always been a time of giving and reflection for the Global Indian community. With more demand for support during the Covid-19 crisis, the notion of sewa has come into more prominence and the spirit of helping has only ramped up.

The Diwali Foundation has been arranging the annual Diwali Basket Brigade for three years. It is a voluntary initiative providing food hampers to vulnerable and socially deprived families from all faiths and backgrounds.

“Diwali is a time of celebration and happiness. Unfortunately, there are many families in our local communities who have little to cheer about, struggle to make ends meet and feel rejected. Diwali Basket Brigade is our small effort to support and spread the message of Diwali - the message of hope, happiness and giving,” said Founder Deepak Parekh, who started the initiative as a way for the community to give back at this auspicious time.

So far this year, volunteers have compiled over 42,000 food items and essentials in 2,000 hampers and provided 35,000 meals to families in need. The baskets were provided to families by 25 charities and food banks last week, ahead of this weekend's Diwali celebrations.

"There has been a huge lift in the people who want to support during this time. Last year, we provided 525 hampers, and because of Covid-19, the initiative has expanded significantly and we were able to provide almost four times the amount."

Another first for the charity this year is that the hampers have also reached families in the three major cities of the UK: London, Manchester and Birmingham, where the initiative began.

The special Diwali baskets include a healthy vegetarian meal, a Diwali ‘diya’ tea-light and helpful hygiene products including face masks and antibacterial hand gels. This was all made possible by donations from volunteers and well-wishers, who have collectively raised over £25,000 this year.

Despite the change in approach given social distancing and lockdown measures, the Diwali Foundation's 200 volunteers were determined to continue given the need is greater than ever.

And, what’s more, everyone is welcome to get involved with the volunteering initiatives of The Diwali Foundation.

*To hear Deepak Parekh’s views on “Social Impact at a Time of Crisis” for DiwaliFest2020 iGlobal Conference, click here

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