by Sat Kaur Khalsa of Caring Coalition
I was in Espanola in November of 2013 to attend a dear friend’s graduation. She was excited about a coat drive she was conducting for kids at the local schools, her way of celebrating her birthday. In addition, she was very involved in the backpack food program that the Espanola Sadh Sangat had been conducting for years.
I was inspired by her example and visited the school at the end of my street when I got home. The principal and social worker made time to meet with me then and there. They said that there was need for better nutrition for most their students. It was decided that I would deliver food for five children every week, a number I could manage by myself.
That evening, while having dinner with a friend, I mentioned my visit to the school. She was so excited that she could not sleep that night. Within a week she had collected over $400 from friends for this purpose. Within one month’s time she had created an amazing website, a Paypal account and a Facebook page. We were up and running! Other Phoenix Sangat members got involved. We decided to call our effort Caring Coalition.
The Phoenix Ashram Community gave us our kick-start in the spring of 2014, with a unique fundraiser. A very generous Sadhana-going couple offered to pay a $10 for every individual that showed up for any part of morning Sadhana. The event ran from March 1 to Baisakhi 2014, a 44 day Sadhana-thon. Over $2,000 was raised in this way. Sadhana attendance went up too!
This fund raiser allowed us to sail along with donations coming in at just the right time for many months. In November, we started soliciting corporate sponsorships, applying for grants and requesting donations from grocery stores. These things required patience. I watched our cupboard grow bare as we waited for funding.
One day I was talking to a friend about the 400 children in need of weekend food at the school we were working with. We were serving 30 children weekly. We did the math and realized that each child in need was only receiving food every 15 weeks. She said, “Tell the Universe you have 400 children to feed. Let go of any reservations you have in about providing this service and the Universe will answer you.”
The next night I decided I had to buy go out and buy food. This is usually pretty enjoyable, but with less than $300 in left in our account, I was definitely concerned. The phrase, “Flying in on a wing and prayer” went through my mind. And so, that evening on my way home from the store, I put all my trust in the Universe and waited to see if my prayers had been heard.
The next morning the phone rang as I was on my way out the door. It was a friend from ashram community. She said, “I want to donate $550 to the Caring Coalition. How do I do that? ”
I knew at that moment that the Universe, Guru Ram Das and the Divine Mother had heard my prayers and had chosen the perfect messenger to deliver their response.
Fast forward to today (April 2016):
Caring Coalition AZ is currently sending home for 51 kids weekly. 26 high needs children receive food every week and the other 25 care packages are distributed among the other 375 kids in need. We are an IRS approved 501(c)3 and we have been approved for the Arizona State Tax Credit for the working poor, meaning an individual can donate up to $200 yearly and receive it all back on their Arizona State return.
We have received tremendous support from local businesses, the Coronado Neighborhood Association, the Guru Nanak Dwara Gurdwara and Ashram community and many individuals in the neighborhood.
Caring Coalition AZ will be hosting their 2nd annual spring chant concert at Yoga Phoenix on April 30, 2016. Chant artists will lead us in prayer with music from around the globe. We have chosen to make this our biggest event of the year, because, in the words of our teacher, “Faith moves mountains otherwise stones are heavy.” If you would like to join us in prayer for abundance and fulfillment for children everywhere, you will be able to watch the live-streaming of this event.
Sat Kaur Khalsa
Director, Caring Coalition