The Livermore Hindu Community and Cultural Center (HCCC) recently held its annual Aid Grant Program, which recognized several different community organizations with grants to support human service efforts.
Approximately $30,000 in grants were awarded to 30 different organizations. Some of the recipients include Alameda County Food Fund, Bus Pass Program, Livermore Fire and Partners for Change Tri-Valley.
“Our Hindu scriptures say that in the same way we should serve humanity and the community. This is what we stand for,” HCCC President Dr. Jyothi Sarma shared in a speech at the event.
Since its incorporation as a non-profit organization in 1977, the HCCC has strived to meet the religious, cultural, educational and humanitarian needs of the community. HCCC has distributed funds at this event for decades, and although the Grant-In-Aid program has taken a short hiatus over the past two years due to Covid-19, HCCC has always sought to support the community through education and the provision of medical services.
The event began with a welcome speech, an invocation and the lighting of a ceremonial lamp by Dr. Nagendra Prasad, the Consul General of India in San Francisco, to dispel the darkness and launch the event. Next, dancers from the InSync dance school performed two ceremonial dances – “Dance for Peace” and “Raag Charukesi”.
“Indian culture is so rich,” remarked Raghavan Echampadi, the guest of honor and consulate general associated with the temple for about three decades. “I am very happy that we are conducting such programs to spread our rich culture. It’s a great day as HCCC dedicates a lot of time to supporting social services. It’s not just a place of worship. It’s not just about religion; it’s way beyond religion… [we consider] What impact do we have on the lives of the people around us and on the communities in which we live? I am truly fortunate to be associated with this institution,” he added.
Guests were welcomed on stage to represent the community and attend the grant presentation. Among those featured were Livermore Police Department Lt. Joe Draghi, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Battalion Chief Kurtis Dickey, Deputy Superintendent Melissa Theide and Vice Mayor Gina Bonanno.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am that the mayor couldn’t be here today,” said Bonanno, who also presented a certificate of recognition to HCCC for his commitment to the community. “It’s just such an honor and such a beautiful ceremony and such a beautiful event. The dancing and singing was so uplifting. Events like this and everything you all do gives you so much hope.
After the awards were distributed, HCCC President Venu Surakanti thanked everyone present, especially the organizers of the event, EC President Usha Ramaswamy and Shyamala Venkateswaran.
“(Service) is one of the functional areas as defined in the bylaws, and we were honored to invite the various service-providing organizations that provide service to the community, both locally and globally,” said explained Surakanti. “They are helping to make this world a better place and uplift humanity.”