Brothers raise funds to host Thanksgiving LunchBrothers raise funds for lunch for Thanksgiving
Most teens calculate their next outing or sporting event but for two brothers, Rahul and Varun Argarwal, they only thought of how they could be in the service of others.
The brothers along with other members of the Indian community organized a Thanksgiving lunch a bit early this year on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Volunteer for America center.
The lunch was aimed at serving the special needs community members that Rahul said are often neglected and forgotten.
“I’ve always had a passion for people who are differently abled,” Rahul said. “One of my relatives suffers for Autism so I was trying to find different ways I could make a difference.”
A traditional Thanksgiving spread featuring turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatos and some vegetarian options were available for members of the center to pack their plates and enjoy.
Rahul and his brother decided to organize a basketball fundraising event at their school, The Village, to encourage students to play with a cause in mind.
The tournament efforts raised more than $1,000 in funds that went toward purchasing the food for the lunch.
“A lot of people do fundraising for causes that are in third world countries but we wanted to do something that is local and affects people in our community,” Varun said.
Jiten Agarwal said when he first discussed the idea with his sons they instantly voiced wanting to take lead on this project.
“When I first came here, I saw people with an open heart and all I did was ask if we could do Thanksgiving lunch together and they just got up and hugged me,” Jiten said. “I was so overwhelmed.”
Working toward enriching the lives of people with intellectual disabilities is one of the primary efforts that Beanca Williams, Volunteer for America Texas Regional Director Houston, said the organization prioritizes services to those in the community often ignored.
“This is much more than we thought it would be,” Williams said. “We have Thanksgiving every year, this year we didn’t have to do any heavy labor and just got to enjoy it.”
Each year Volunteer for America Houston chapter holds a Thanksgiving lunch to give those without a family the chance to enjoy a meal among friends from the center.
Deneen Lewis, program coordinator with Volunteer for America, said she cooks the entire meal each year in hoping those who feel alone find a place of comfort in the center.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do something like this and partake in this,” Lewis said.
Lewis cooks the meal each year around everyone in order to retain the same enjoyment that comes with cooking a Thanksgiving meal typically at home around family.
“I feel like this is something God has called me to do because some days I feel like I don’t know how I do it,” Lewis said.
Also in attendance was State Rep. District 126 Kevin Roberts who admired the lead role the youth have taken in giving back to the community.
“They are our future leaders and as I was encouraged growing up, I wanted to encourage them,” said Roberts. “What they are doing here makes a very significant difference not only in their lives but in the lives of others.”
Consul General of India, Anupam Ray, closed off the speeches to members saying that scripters from his Hindu religion, that are over a thousand years old, read that the world is one family and that by the Indian community gathering to organize this makes them not only good Americans, but good Indians.
“I admire what they are doing to demonstrate that they are good Americans,” said Ray.
He added, “We have to learn to respect the traditions of others and participate in those traditions and take joy in those traditions.”