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Food4Lives: Feeding and caring for those who need support the most

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, July 4, 2020: As the world wakes to uncertain mornings in unprecedented times, different people are faced with different challenges. While it may be as simple as worrying about buying pajamas or school gear for fall for some, some families might be concerned about next paycheck, and some bear the burden of providing the very basic necessity for them and their family to survive, their next meal. Even as distress mounts each in its own way, acts of service rekindle hope and restore faith in humanity.

In our series, Giving, Dil Se in the time of COVID-19, featuring contributions of the Indian-American community, we present to you the charitable acts of individuals and organizations who have donated their time, money and services.

Food4Lives, a service family founded by Veda Sara Das and students from Georgia Tech and Emory in 2017 strives to feed, educate, and empower the homeless of Atlanta. During the time of the pandemic, this dedicated group has risen to the occasion, donating food, gloves, masks, sheets, sleeping bags, mattresses, toys, hygiene supplies, backpacks, tents, hundreds of pounds of clothing, and a wheelchair.

Food4Lives has also directly provided service opportunities and facilitated gainful employment. They also provide mental health support through counseling and personalized mentorship to those in need. 

With a humble beginning, Food4Lives initially served one meal to over three hundred people every Saturday for 3 years, consistently.  Food4lives believes in serving healthy home-cooked meals and transferring positive energy through vegetarian entrees, snacks, and drinks of the highest quality.

“Finding Food4lives was great for both of us. We love the fact they deliver fresh food from our house right to those in need. My daughter Ellie and I feel good being able to help and we hope to continue to work with this awesome group of people again,” says Amy Gies, volunteer.

 “As Covid-19 sweeps the globe, we seize it as an opportunity to serve the people who need us the most. As a result, over the past two months Food4Lives has exponentially grown,” say volunteers Riley Strickland and Vikram Shingane.

Home-cooked meals by volunteers of Food4lives packed into delivery boxes have served 1,155 boxes to Emory Decatur ER, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital ER, Emory Johns Creek ER, Emory University Hospital Midtown: ER, Emory Hillandale ER, Emory Main Campus and Northside Hospital, and 100 boxes to Police Commissioner’s office.

For the past 76 consecutive days, Food4Lives has served 150-200 boxes to assist the individuals and families who are suffering from economic hardships. “We seek out those experiencing homelessness in places such as the Northside Drive “Bridge to Nowhere,” Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Hurt Park, parking lots, highway ramps, various bridges, gas stations and the abandoned Gospel Tabernacle Cathedral. During Covid-19, Food4Lives has delivered around 15,000 healthy, well balanced, home-cooked meals. It is a true testament to the strength and heart of the people of Atlanta who have made these accomplishments possible,” say Strickland and Shingane.

Food4Lives has expanded to begin weekly distribution in Athens having served 75 meals and 50 boxes of snacks in partnership with shelters in Athens such as Sparrow’s Nest, Bigger Vision and Advantage Homeless Day Center.

 “As a parent of two teens, I feel this tenuous situation opens unanticipated pockets of time to actively model and teach, with hands-on opportunities, how to significantly impact others with generosity and caring behavior by feeding and caring for those who need support the most,” said Lisa Hutson, service volunteer.

Veda Sara Das

Message from Veda Sara Das, Founder, Food4lives
“I have lived in the city of Atlanta for the last 15 years, and it has been very hard to miss the destitute conditions of the ever-growing homeless community. We are reminded of the crude reality at every traffic stop, yet we try to be oblivious and look the other way as though it does not exist.

As time goes by the economic disparity in society grows, driving an already weakened section of society into despair. I believe that every living being should have access to food. This is a fundamental human right, and when this right is deprived, the imbalance in society starts to take a strong foothold in our communities, which leads to civil unrest around the world.

Food4Lives was created with the understanding that there is a universal hunger that no one is exempt from, which is the hunger of the heart. We utilize feeding the homeless as a means of killing two birds with one stone. We address the hunger of the belly by feeding them the most delicious, natural, fresh food served with compassion and dignity. Added to that exchange is a dialogue of the server and the recipient.
I appeal to all of you. Please join us in this endeavor to heal the hearts and minds by contributing to global harmony and unity. ”

For more information, you may check Facebook: @Food4Livesatl or Email: contact@food4lives.org.


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Bollywood star Sanjay Dutts daughter Trishala Dutt has penned an emotional note to mark one year of her boyfriend’s death on Thursday. She opened up about going for therapy and quitting her job post his demise. Trishala took to Instagram, where she shared a picture of herself along with her late boyfriend. “Today marks 1 year since the ground beneath me seemed to crumble and my life changed. I’ve done a lot of grief work –from talk therapy, to joining specific support groups and being more intentional with how and who I spend my time with. “I’ve also been somewhat absent from social media over the past year. Losing my mom at the age of eight and working through that for over two decades, surprisingly, did not prepare me for loosing this beautiful soul,” she wrote. “It’s not just the passage of time, you don’t get over it or move on just because a year or twenty go by. You have to face the darkest moments and ride out the rollercoaster of emotions for the rest of your life. I knew grief wasn’t only sadness, however, I’d forgotten it creeps up in the sneakiest of ways.” Trishala shared that in the past year she cried to a point where she ran out of tears. “I had to quit my job because how could I take care of someone’s mental health if my own was a disaster?” she wrote. She shared that she had several “public breakdowns where strangers have come up to me and asked if I needed any assistance.” Trishla added that she ate “everything in sight and gained 30 lbs (13 kilos).” “But it’s fine. It happens. Its the process, and it’s nothing I can’t fix once I’m in the right mind-set (and I’m happy to share my mental health and physique has gotten so much better!) “Also, I’m not ashamed to admit it’s because of an amazing therapist, support groups, and 3 beautiful friends.” Full report on our website. Link in bio. #mentalhealthawareness #depressionawareness #griefandloss #trishaladutt

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