Hempstead / Hicksville, NY - January 31, 2017 - On Saturday, January 28, 2017 while New Yorkers were gathering in protest march against President Donald Trump’s Executive orders, a group of concerned Long Islanders were arriving at the Soup Kitchen on 40 Washington Street in Hempstead, NY wearing headgear and Rotary-logo aprons to make some beautiful human connections. Their mission was to serve fresh and hygienic food to families in need.
In a newly formed partnership, the Rotary Club of Hicksville South (RCHS) and United Methodist Church will serve food for families in need on the fourth Saturday every month as well as special meals around the holidays. “As part of the food for the hungry project, our aim is to enter in partnership with several local soup kitchens across Long island”, said Mr. Kamlesh Mehta, Charter President and Past District Governor.
Photo by RCHS.
Thanking the donors and members, Mr. Dave Sharma, President of the RCHS, said, ”It was really an amazing eye-opening experience as it creates an opportunity to bond with people. Everyone should try and know what compassion is worth”. The Assistant District Governor, Mr. Quddus Mohammed is the project chair with a five-member team of Dr Urmilesh Arya, Roopam Maini, Kalpana Patel, Nilima Madan and Ashok Varshney. “It’s not just about food, but it is about getting people involved in the issue of hunger”, he added.
“Cooking and serving meals in the soup kitchen is a transformative experience”, said Mr. Quddus Mohammed. “Our program is the best dialogue and sidesteps traditional interfaith dialogue to get people of faith working together for the common good”.
The Rotary Club of Hicksville South, a local chapter of Rotary International, provides several local and international humanitarian services, including promoting world peace through dialogue. As part of their local mission this year alone, RCHS has distributed over 600 backpacks filled with school supplies, T-shirts and winter coats for children in foster homes on Long Island.
“This is the only soup kitchen in the Hempstead area, which is open on Saturday and hence has seen a steady increase in the guests from month-to-month,” said Ms. Ruth Robinson who volunteers as the head-chef at the kitchen. The kitchen serves between 60 and 100 guest on a typical day. The board of the UMCH granted a budget of $250 and church volunteers donated anything over the budget. Under the new partnership, the Rotary Club of Hicksville South will not only provide full financial support but its members and volunteers will help in the kitchen prepare, assemble and serve food to the guest.
Rotary is a global network of community volunteers. Rotary members are business, professional, and community leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas initiate service projects to address today’s challenges, including illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and environmental concerns.
Rotary Club of Hicksville South:
A group, largely Indian American, of like-minded friends started the club in September 2009, drawn by Rotary's diverse, nonpolitical, and nonreligious structure. Our club meets alternate Thursdays at 7:00 PM in Hicksville, Long Island. Mr. Dave Sharma, an Airline Industry Professional, is the current President of the 35-member Hicksville South Rotary Club. Our club participated in a broad range of humanitarian, intercultural, and educational activities designed to improve the human condition. By using their skills and expertise, members also enhance their professional network, career development, and cross-cultural understanding.