Volunteers bring light to hunger problem ahead of Diwali

EDISON, New Jersey (WABC) -- More than two dozen volunteers packed up hundreds of food items.

The volunteers are part of 'Sewa Diwali' - Sewa meaning 'affectionately giving back.' Diwali is commonly known as the festival of lights, and here they are doing their part to bring to light the problem of hunger.

"People already have the idea 'I need to give back,' they just need the medium, said Gaurav Singhal.

In New Jersey, one out of every six kids are food insecure, so it is as important as serving your own family.

The organization is collecting food items from now until Diwali in two weeks. The items will be donated to 70 organizations in the area, knowing the need during the pandemic is greater than ever.

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"The drives just started a week back across the nation, and we are close to 15,000 pounds," said Singhal.

Sewa Diwali started back in 2018 in New Jersey and it was so successful that it became national. This year, almost two dozen states are involved, collecting tens of thousands of pounds of food.

"Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas - all the holidays are a way to celebrate not just what we have, but to share with others," says volunteer Nithya Sivaram, "I think 23 states is an awesome start - we have a long way to go."

15-year-old Arya Shahane has been involved from the very beginning.

"It feels you're included in a bigger cause," Shahane.

Teaching the young the ultimate meaning of Sewa - giving back, for generations to come.

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