Diwali has been a season of giving and goodwill as multiple Mutual Aid groups came together to distribute food donated by Neasden Temple.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Brentfield Road, donated 1,200 hot meals and hampers containing Indian sweets and savouries for the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
Ashford Place and Brent Thrive, worked alongside Harrow Care Plus- Brent, The Ahmadiyya Muslim community North London, The Salvation Army in Harlesden, Sufra, the Granville Community Kitchen in Kilburn and Wembley Central Area Residents Association (WCARA) managing to reach out to 21 wards within Brent.
Dhamecha Cash & Carry and Popat Stores, both in Wembley, donated chocolates and tealights for the Hindu festival of light.
Danny Maher, Ashford Place chief exec said: “This has been a shining light amidst the stories of hardship and challenge at this time. Brent residents, Mutual Aid groups, the Neasden Temple, Brent Thrive members and others quietly working together to bring cheer to vulnerable people in our community.”
Sheetal Popat, a support worker at Brent Thrive, who organised the event, expressed her “sincere thanks and gratitude” to Neasden Temple and all who donated. She added: “The aim of this project was to raise mental health awareness amongst the South Asian community in Brent and to inform them of the support services we have to offer at Ashford Place and Brent Thrive.”
Chirag Gir, chair of WCARA also thanked Neasden Temple “for the generosity shown in these difficult times”.
“Our neighbours, many elderly and vulnerable were overwhelmed by the offering especially at a time when many are unable to visit the temple for Diwali Prayers,” he added.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj said: “While Diwali is normally a time for communal celebration, it is our civic duty and religious responsibility to strictly observe the government’s lockdown guidelines and ensure that, in the true spirit of Diwali, we combat the darkness of this global pandemic with the light of our unity, collective selflessness and group discipline.”
Swami Yogvivekdas, head monk at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, thanked Brent Thrive: “We applaud their work of helping people experiencing isolation and with mental health difficulties in Brent. Our collaboration at this very difficult time is especially fitting, in keeping with the Diwali spirit of sharing, goodwill and charity.”