The Indian American community has organized itself to be of help during the COVID Crisis by forming a Santa Clara Community Coalition. Local nonprofits, community organizations, small businesses, and individuals were brought together to join hands and form a coalition. By using their networks for good to collaborate, share resources, get the word out, and potentially solve problems together, we believe we all have a role in helping the community through the COVID19 crisis. We have innovation, resources, and people all around us. So there isn’t anything we can’t solve. That's the American way.
The coalition’s purpose is to 1) Work together to address specific needs, 2) Be a source of information about resources, programs/initiatives, updates, and similar on social media and sharing with our individual members and networks and 3) Provide a phone-based communication platform for the community to help the community during this crisis and future one if needed.
Some of the initiatives underway include:
1) Community Food Pantry, bringing groceries to the vulnerable, elderly, single parents, and others with special circumstances.
2) Community Made Medical Masks: The SCC Community Medical Masks group of volunteers, around 550, are making and donating masks to local health care workers, front line, and others who are in a vulnerable state.
3) Face Shield Building: Members of the coalition have started an enterprise manufacturing face shields locally.
4) Meal in a Bag: ‘Meals in a bag’ are being provided to local institutions to distribute to the homeless and others by the Sam Jose Gurdwara.
5) Storytime and Concerts: Children and families need a variety of events and activities to engage. In the afternoons, Magical Bridge hosts daily concerts at 12:00 p.m. and Joy of Sewa is hosting a daily storytime at 6:00 p.m. to keep children engaged and learning while libraries are shut down, with the local mayor, council members, youth, commissioners, and other community leaders. https://www.facebook.com/MagicalBridge; https://www.facebook.com/joyofsewa
6) “We are Open” Local Restaurants: Supporting local restaurants and businesses that are open for business.
7) Be a Friend, Call a Senior: The governor and county leadership have all asked for people to make the extra efforts to contact our neighbors and especially our seniors.
At the end of the day, we are in a crisis and there are issues that need to be addressed. This is Silicon Valley and America, where innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit are a central part of who we are. If there is one thing we should have learned from this experience, is to be better prepared. And equally important, we know we can get through this together.
Harbir Kaur Bhatia
Santa Clara, Calif.