Fires, Facebook Campaigns and Fundraising
In July 2018, the youth team in Greece were faced with a challenge. With many of the core team members having gone to India for Guru Poornima celebrations, it seemed as if keeping up the service activities was going to be very difficult due to lack of volunteers. However, to their surprise, one of the people that attends Narayana Seva did something that yielded unexpected results. He created a simple post on Facebook which described the need for volunteers at the Nectar of Love Seva centre. Amazingly, this post was shared by hundreds of people and the youth built on this momentum by sharing it in vegetarian, vegan and yoga societies where people are most likely to understand and resonate with the philosophy of the centre and with Swami’s teachings. Almost 25 new youth volunteers responded to this call! In fact, it was only thanks to this that the Seva was able to continue as usual! Swami’s Grace had played its role!
New opportunities for Seva opened up with the recent tragedy that struck the country: forest fires consumed a large area near Athens, burning almost 2,500 houses and killing hundreds of people. Some of the youth members have been volunteering on almost a daily basis by delivering basic items and goods to the victims. Furthermore, other youth members have helped families whom they personally know, by preparing, packaging and distributing boxes filled with food, cleaning products and other items. They have also been giving them money, because the families have lost everything they had, including what little money they had saved in their homes. Finally, in collaboration with a Sai youth in Germany who heard about the fires and decided to do something about it, the youth managed to secure three large boxes of donations in food, medicine and clothing from a group of German companies.
Not far away from Greece, the youth in Cyprus also had an active month of Seva activity. They were regularly doing Narayana Seva, distributing almost 800 meals which included water, flour, pasta, rice, black eyed beans and bread to Cypriot families who suffer from poverty. Furthermore, the team allocated 1,000 coupons to impoverished families, enabling them to acquire food from a local bakery. Finally, in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation in Cyprus, they helped raise funds and clothing for the fire victims in Greece.