by Mahindra Bisram
On September 16, 2012, Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sang (SN SOS) in an effort to unite Hindus across America and in collaboration with the Hindu Mandirs National Blood Donation Campaign,held its 2nd annual blood drive. The blood drive was scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11 so that we will not forget the sacrifice made by the brave heroes who valiantly gave their lives to help save others.
According to the American Red Cross more than 44,000 blood donations are needed each day; every two seconds someone in the U.S needs blood; a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. These are very grim statistics, especially since many people do not donate blood, and there are no substitutes for this precious commodity.
Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come from generous donors. Giving blood is giving life and is one of the greatest forms of Seva.This blood drive like the 1sttook tremendous planning and coordination, and many were instrumental to its success. Dr. Anand Hardowar of SN SOS once again coordinated the drive with the New York Blood Center, as well as spending time educating the devotees of Surya Mandir on the importance of giving blood and eligibility criteria during Sunday services.
On the Sunday prior to the blood drive, Pt. Ram Hardowar, the spiritual leader of Shri Surya Narayan Mandir personally visited several Mandirs in the Queens area to speak about the blood drive, and to encourage the devotees of these Mandirs to participate.
This year’s blood drive was held in the Mandir’s courtyard as a bus was provided by the New York Blood Center. The bus was fully equipped with all supplies needed for the blood donation process as well as a small rest area for donors to recuperate after donating.
The drive was scheduled from 10:00 to 2:00 PM and the blood center personnel arrived very early in the morning to set up. Promptly at 10 AM, the onsite registration process started, followed by an initial screening to determine the eligibility of the potential donors.Prior to donating a nutritional meal was provided to all prospective donors.
Some first time donors were initially hesitant about donating blood, but many of the experienced donors helped to allay the fears of the newcomers by sharing with them how simple and easy the process really was.This year we had quite a few sixteen year olds who participated in the blood drive. This goes to show that the lessons imparted by our learned Panditsto practice Dhanam(charity) one of the four pillars of Sanatan Dharma is not falling on deaf ears. Instead, the teens, as well as the adults of Surya Mandir are practicing what they learn by participating in this Maha Seva event and giving the gift of life. It goes without saying that one should practice what they teach and this event was no exception. Pt. Ram Hardowar (Guruji) and Bahenji Radha Hardowar (Guruma), Bhai Amar (President of Surya Mandir) as well as several other executives of Surya Mandir and SN SOS were on hand as donors for the blood drive.
After giving blood the donors were directed to a recovery area in the mobile bus where snacks (Pretzels, cookies, etc) and drinks (Water, Juice,etc) were available. The donors were encouraged to drink fluids and eat a salty snack to help in the recovery process and to make sure they were well enough to leave.
The turn-out was indeed tremendous as over 65 selfless individual, ages 16 to 70 from various religious and ethnic backgrounds registered to donate. Unfortunately due to various restrictions and conditionsset forth by the NY Blood Center, such as visiting another country, being anemic,having high blood pressure, no form of identification,some were ruled ineligible as donors.
By the end of the donation periodwhich had to be extended until 3:30 PM to accommodate all donors, 33 pints of blood was drawn, whichhavethe potential of saving 99 lives.
SN SOS would like to thank all the donors who participated in this Blood Drive and all those who helped to make it a success. Special thanks to all the devotees of Surya Mandir who helped with logistics, registration, etc, during the drive. If you would like to volunteer your services or make a donation to help further the goals of SN SOS, please contact us at 347-809-4373 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sang (SN SOS) is a non-profit charitable organization headquartered in Jamaica, New York. Members of SN SOS come from diverse backgrounds and consist of professionals, pandits and other select members of the community. Our humanitarian effort is seen as a way of extending the boundaries of Surya Mandir beyond its physical constraints and opening up its door to many more people in a time of need. Our mission is to provide medical care with a focus on prevention and a healthy lifestyle, social, economic and educational assistance to people in need around the world especially in Guyana, New York and India. Service will be provided to the underserved through love and compassion in our actions. The values and morals thought to us by our religion Sanatan Dharma will be our guiding light as we move forward to help the needy and less fortunate.