Shrewsbury Indian American group donates over 2500 pounds of food


By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter 

Shrewsbury Indian American group donates over 2500 pounds of food
(l to r) Kruthi Gundu, State Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and Anika Mamidala

Shrewsbury – The sun shone bright on Dec. 11 when roughly 20 volunteers from Shrewsbury’s Shaakha, an Indian community group, arrived at the South Worcester Neighborhood Center (SWNIC) to deliver roughly 2,500 pounds of food to help feed those faced with food insecurity during the pandemic.

Founded in 1969, SWNIC is a community based private nonprofit organization located at 47 Camp St., Worcester. They serve approximately 6,000 people a month. 

“The volunteer effort was organized by the local branch of the national organization Sangh called Shaakha, inspired by the idea that the whole world is one family,” shared Jonjy Ananth, statewide commissioner of the Asian American Commission and a resident of Shrewsbury, in a press release.

The group collected the food as a service project in conjunction with the holiday Diwali which is the Indian “festival of lights.” Kitchen staples were collected such as flour, cereal, beans, rice, and pasta. 

Shrewsbury Indian American group donates over 2500 pounds of food
The volunteers from Shaakha pose for a photo with State Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury, center) and South Worcester Neighborhood Center Executive Director Tom L’Ecuyer (fifth from left) at the Southwest Neighborhood Center in Worcester.

Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury), who was also present, noted that a project such as this was the “whole point of what makes a community.”

“Hopefully, this type of philosophy will spread across the country and people will realize that no, we are not in it alone and that there are people that are out there to help,” he commented.

SWNIC Executive Director Tom L’Ecuyer was overjoyed by the group’s generosity and the abundance of food donated.

“We provide more than just food pantry services. We also help people with counseling services, help people with housing, help people with rental assistance…primarily now during the COVID time, it’s just astronomical the food insecurity we have in this community,” he said.

He added that they “just get by” but it’s difficult because the number of people needing help is so uncertain.

When asked what this donation means, he replied, “This delivery means the world to me…” 

Volunteers included Oak Middle School students Kruthi Gundu and Anika Mamidala as well as Lakshmi Thalanki, Rajoo Ananth, Srikanth Rudra, Mohan Gundu, Suresh Mamidala, Mohan Sonti, and Bharat Thabati.

To learn more about SWNIC visit their Facebook page  

Photos/Melanie Petrucci

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