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Kartik Bhatt and his donation brigade spread cheer during COVID-19

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, June 19, 2020: It came. It spread. It conquered. A virus not even visible to the naked eye changed the course of the human race in ways inconceivable. Even as states open up businesses to boost economies, there is nothing substantial to declare it safe. The finish line is nowhere in sight. Despite the despair, it is heartening to hear stories of people and organizations that decided to embrace humanity and its need of the hour.

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.

Kartik Bhatt, member of the Georgia Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts, has been working tirelessly through COVID times coordinating with various Indian-American individuals and organizations to donate essential supplies to frontline staff across Atlanta.

“I’m not a community leader. I’m a public servant,” says Bhat.  At a time back in March 2020, when sanitizer availability was few and far between, Bhatt worked with Jay Parekh and Viral Parekh, Jay Raval, and Rinki Pattnaik to donate over 150 hand sanitizers and over 200 masks to Cobb Police HQ in March and April 2020. Cobb County Chairman Mike Boyce, C.T.Cox , Police Chief and Cassie Mazloo Director Cobb County Emergency were present at the event to acknowledge the donations.

Bhatt worked with Sewa International, Swadesh Katoach, Jay Raval, Rinki Pattnaik to provide over 650 masks, and with Jigar Patel, Johnty Raval, Sonny-Imtiyaz Bhayani , Honest, Raju Omlet and Blueberry’s to provide 100 + Indian lunch to Cobb Police HQ. Neil Warren, Cobb Sheriff and Sonya Allen, Deputy Chief spent nearly two hours with the delegation that included Indian media.

Bhatt coordinated efforts with Sewa International USA , Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh to provide 675 masks, over 200 Indian meals, over 200 pieces of bottled water with Jay Raval, Jigar Patel, Sonny-Imtiyaz Bhayani, Honest,  Raju Omlet and Blueberry’s to be donated to Cobb Fire Station #4. Randy Crider Cobb County Public Safety Director was present to accept the donations.

“During the pandemic Mr. Bhatt has helped me serve the community. Anytime he sees hard working people he is very appreciative,” said Pattnaik, adding that he ensures the donations reach right destinations.

Rinki Pattnaik, Kartik Bhatt and others.

Bhatt worked with Rinki Pattnaik to provide 200 DIY masks and 20 pizzas for City Kennesaw Police Department at the City Hall, the first day of its re-opening for Public since its closure due to COVID 19. Derek Easterling, Mayor, City of  Kennesaw, Bill Westenberger, Police Chief, Kennesaw present at the event recognized the donations with a special honor to both donors.

Kartik Bhatt with Mike Boyce.

“It is with deep appreciation and gratitude that I thank Kartik Bhatt for coordinating the efforts of the Indian community in delivering personal protective equipment and meals to first responders in Cobb County.  The supplies were important in protecting our public servants and bolstering their morale.  Mr. Bhatt and the members of the Indian community who provided the supplies represent the best in Cobb County,” said Boyce in an official statement.

Bhatt worked with Sewa International,  Swadesh Katoch,  Madhavi Gunasekaran and Jigisha Shah to provide over 600 masks and 200 vegetarian meals, which apparently made one vegetarian officer in particular very happy. “We worked under Jason R Anavitarte’s leadership,” said Bhat.

Seema Garg.

“We formed a nonprofit organization, RAAH, which has about 100 women members. Every day we distribute 100-150 lunch boxes to Food for life. We collect and donate cash, dry grocery, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and cooked food. A big thanks to Kartik and his dad Harikrishna Bhatt for connecting us to the community,” said Seema Garg, S&S Digital Media.

Bhatt coordinated with of Sewa International USA, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Swadesh Katoch, Dhirendra, Harikrishna Bhatt, N.B.Patel, Shivakumar Sharma, Seema Garg, Anupam Goyal Puri, Seema Kohli, Madras Chettinaad and Madras Mantra to donate over 4000 masks and over 300 Indian meals to Fulton County Sheriff’s office. “I thank Robb Pitts, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County, Dick Anderson, County Manger, Sheriff Theodore Ted Jackson for the inspiration and motivation and guidance for this project. Many thanks to Fulton County Sheriff’s Staff for your help and support, “said Bhat.

Anupam Goyal Puri (right).

“This pandemic gave me an opportunity to cook for the homeless and other individuals and families who have been majorly impacted. Helping people has always been my motto in life,” said Anupam Puri, who has been in the catering business for the past 18 years. She has cooked for over 1000 homeless and over 200 individual meals for the sheriff’s office in the past 3 months. “I thank Karthik for the opportunity he gave me to cook for the sheriff’s office and for the hospital front line heroes,” she added.

Thirty-three inmates have tested positive for the virus since March, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tracy Flanagan said. The donation includes KN95 and other surgical grade masks. Flanagan said most of the masks are intend for inmates housed at the South Jail Annex in Union City.

Kartik Bhatt with his father Harikrishna Bhatt and Shivakumar Sharma.

“I’m blessed to have my dad, Harikrishna Bhatt and my brother-in-law N.K. Shah accompany with me each and every event. It is wonderful to see people working hard not individually but together as an Indian community! I’m honored to be able to coordinate these donations to front line workers who need it the most,” said Bhat.

“We are very proud and happy about our son serving the community,” said Harikrishna Bhatt.

A long time resident of Cobb, Bhatt served ten years as Animal Control Officer in the county’s Department of Public Safety.

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