JUNE 2020
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida




GTSB Governor’s board members at AdventHealth Carrollwood

The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, also known as GSTB, recently hosted a fundraising drive to collect funds to benefit charities in India and Tampa Bay area. GSTB matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. It collected over $10,125, and with GSTB’s match, raised more than $20,125.

Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay donated: $2,500 to PM CARES Fund in India via online transfer; $2,500 to Gujarat Chief Minister Relief Fund via online transfer; $3,500 worth (7,000 pieces) surgical masks and $3,150 worth (950 pieces) N95 safety masks to local AdventHealth Hospital; $5,000 check and $3,500 worth (7,000 pieces) surgical masks to Feeding Tampa Bay.

Taking social distancing requirements into consideration, a small gathering was held at the AdventHealth Carrollwood and Feeding Tampa Bay on May 12 to present masks and check donations. Among those present were GSTB 2020 Board of Governors Chair Jigisha Desai, Vice Chair Dr. Jayendra Choksi, Secretary Vijay Gandhi, Treasurer Smita Patel, board members Nainan Desai and Darshak Patel, GSTB President Keval Brahmbhatt, VP Mukesh Patel, Secretary Chintan Patel, Treasurer Jigar Jadav and Social Secretary Bhavik Modi.

AdventHealth CEO Erika Skula thanked GSTB for the donation, stating that the hospital is in need of masks as everyone entering the hospital premise is required to wear one while there has been a national shortage. She also said that surgeries have resumed at all their hospitals and all surgery patients are tested for COVID-19. Director of Operations Adam Johnson, Director of AH Carrollwood Foundation Tony LaForgia, Chief of Staff Dr. C.J. Patel, and Chief Nursing Officer Seta Ruiz were also present.

GTSB Governor’s board members at Feeding Tampa Bay

Feeding Tampa Bay Executive Director Thomas Mantz accepted the $5,000 check. He gave detailed information from collections to processing, to packaging and distribution of the food with the help of over 200 volunteers. Hari Tank of ShreeHari Video & Photography donated his time and services and Sammy from Express Beverages contributed 8,000 bottles of water to Feeding Tampa Bay.


The Sikh Gurdwara of Tampa Bay (USREF) in Thonotosassa has been doing their part since the COVID-19 outbreak. Under Gurdwara's Outreach Initiative, volunteers have reached out to Tampa Bay area sheriff offices, fire stations, ERs/hospitals and homeless shelters with free groceries, food, masks and items of personal hygiene.

Tampa Gurdwara volunteers pack meals
for the weekly drive-thru Free Food Program.

Gurdwara has sponsored hundreds of free meals via Feeding Tampa Bay. Recently, volunteers catered food to Ronald McDonald House. Also, a weekly drive-thru Free Food Program with the help of selfless volunteers has provided meals to thousands of needy families. Gurdwara is compiling a list of the needy to provide weekly groceries from the drive-thru visitors.

Gurdwara needs a constant flow of funds to undertake such initiatives. Donate to Tampa Bay Gurdwara via Zelle Pay to 813-599-1557 (Recipient: USREF) or mail checks to United Sikh Religious & Educational Foundation Inc., 15302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592. For information, visit https://TampaGurdwara.com


As coronavirus continues to take a huge emotional and mental toll on families, Tampa-based Hindu Family Support Services can help. It provides free and confidential assistance to women and families from India and other south Asian countries, facing domestic violence, emotional abuse and family conflict. For information, call (813) 591-0250, email [email protected] or visit https://hfssusa.org/


BAPS Charities continues to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to frontline responders, as well as hot meals and in-kind donations in local communities throughout North America. BAPS realizes food insecurity, protecting the elderly, medical equipment, and disruptions to education are just a few of the concerns facing communities. To donate to their efforts, visit www.bapscharities.org/covid-19




Hindu Society of Central Florida President
Dr. Sampathkumar Shanmugham presents a check
for Rescue Outreach Mission in Sanford.

The Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive in Casselberry, has raised $21,000 toward Coronavirus relief efforts, according to HSCF President Dr. Sampathkumar Shanmugham.

Cooked, packed vegetarian meals were delivered to frontline workers at: Central Florida Regional Hospital, Sanford; South Seminole Hospital, Longwood; AdventHealth Altamonte, Altamonte Springs; and Seminole County Sheriff's Office, first respondents, Sanford. In addition, vegetarian meals were delivered to: Rescue Outreach Mission, Sanford; Health Care Center for Homeless, Orlando; Coalition for Homeless, Orlando; and Ronald McDonald House for Sick Children families, Orlando.


At Health Care Center for Homeless, Orlando.


Cash donations were made to following organizations to buy medical supplies and to feed the needy: Rescue Outreach Mission and Harvest International, both in Sanford; Health Care Center for Homeless, Orlando; Coalition for Homeless, Orlando; and Sharing Center, Longwood.  


The Sikh Society of North East Florida, 6019 Morrow St. E., has raised money toward serving more than 150 boxed lunches to the needy as part of its “Share A Meal” every Saturday. The Jacksonville Gurudwara also has delivered food for the Sulzbacher Center, a homeless facility in downtown Jacksonville, and the St. Francis School in St. Augustine.


Also, together with Sewa International, Jacksonville's Seva4Society is organizing $19 for Covid-19 fundraiser. The money collected through this fundraiser will be used to support undeserved communities. To donate, visit https://sewausa.org/NE-Florida-Sewa-Fundraiser-for-COVID-19

If you are involved with an organization doing pandemic-related relief work, tell us about it. Email [email protected]


CALL 813-758-1786.
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