Thank you once again to everyone who participated in our COVID Relief fundraiser and thank you to KPBS and The Coast News for taking the time to share our story.
There’s more where that came from…
Over the course of just two weeks, we were able to raise nearly $60,000 and feed 4,180 families in some of the hardest-hit communities in South India. The success of this project has greatly inspired me. I am now in the process of brainstorming more ways we can help the many struggling families in India. Keep an eye on our Community Service page where I will be sharing my ideas and the progress of our future efforts.
Thank you kindly, Kyle Tortora, Founder, Lotus Sculpture
Last week, our local news station, KPBS San Diego highlighted our South India COVID Relief efforts
I have been utterly blown away by the generosity of our customers! As of 8 am on Friday morning, May 28th, we have raised $28,327!
On top of the $2,000 initial donation, Lotus Sculpture is matching the $8,338 donated in the first 24 hours. That brings the total to $36,665!
From the $2,000 wire payment made to Balan on 5/19, we were able to donate 175 bags of rice to needy villagers in India. An additional $19,097 was wired to Balan on 5/24 to purchase rice for another round of distributions.
Balan has focused on the villages around where he lives in Mamallapuram by contacting village leaders and asking them to give names of families who have the most need. These are mostly agrarian families who live day to day earning their living by working in the fields for their daily needs. With a full lockdown in place, they are unable to work and are going hungry.
We made the decision to donate 25kg rice bags because rice is the central staple of the Indian diet and can easily feed a family for up to 3 weeks.
“It is difficult to explain the feeling I got when I saw their eyes fill with relief.” ~Balan
Balan has already purchased 1800 bags of rice (25kgs) with the 2nd wire sent of $19,097 on 5/24.He has been in contact with village leaders around Mamallapuram compiling lists of families with the most need.
Currently, no one is allowed to leave their homes with police enforcing people staying in their homes. On Monday, May 31st, when the harsh lockdown lifts there will be 8 local points where the bags of rice will be distributed.
These points will be at Balan’s home as well as the homes of his friends and local leaders. (We will send a newsletter with pictures of the 2nd round of donations next week.)
What Is Still Needed:
We will continue to give as long as there is a need. With the lockdown measures in place indefinitely there is still a need for aid.
In the first week of June, we will send another wire for rice distribution around our bronze artists in Kumbakonam and Swamimalai. We have already contacted our artisans and have started compiling lists of families in these areas.
Give knowing that 100% of every dollar you give goes to buying rice in South India.
As many of you have already seen on the news, the situation in India is very dire. With over 26 million cases of COVID and close to 300 thousand deaths and counting, India’s daily death toll has hit the world’s highest and unfortunately is not showing signs of slowing any time soon. Spreading to India’s rural communities which lack adequate medical facilities, people are desperate for any help they can receive.
I have been brainstorming with my good friend and Lotus Sculpture artist, Balan, on what we can do to help. Balan, who lives in Mahaballipuram in Tamil Nadu, India, toured local villages to speak with the people and see what families need. Two of those stories are below and I encourage you to read them and hear firsthand what daily life is like in India.
“I had visited more than 20 villages nearby Mamallapuram. I just understand… we must help them with 25-kilo rice bags to every poor family… the basic food is rice. 25 kilos rice bags cost 1000 Rupees ($13.75) depending on the quantity we buy.”
Together we came up with a plan to distribute an everyday staple that families need; 25-kilogram bags of rice. Earlier this week Lotus Sculpture donated $2,000 for Balan to purchase rice for local families. He will be distributing the rice on Monday, May 24th.
I am personally asking you to help us with donations for the 2nd round of aid scheduled for later this coming week.
Lotus Sculpture will match every dollar donated.
100% of the money donated will go to direct aid to the people struggling to make ends meet in this terrible time.
One 25kg bag of rice costs $13 and can save a family in need. Please click on the link above to make a donation or contact me directly if you would like to donate more; [email protected]
This is one of those times that you have the ability to change the lives of families who need help.
– Kyle, founder of Lotus Sculpture
Below are two of the most extreme stories we have heard but these are the people who will benefit from your donations…
Kumar and Chathanthi are a couple also from Karumarapakkam village. They have two sons, Johnson and Ruben. Both of their sons have down syndrome. Kumar and Chathanthi work in the fields and earn 100 to 200 Rupees daily ($1.40 – $2.80). They use this income to feed their sons, for medical expenses, and for essential items including rice, sugar, cooking oil, and kerosene at the ration shop in the village. In the current situation they are unable to feed their children and take them to the hospital without any money coming in. They too are relying on charity and desperately waiting for the curfew to be lifted.
Ansari and Gunsar are a Muslim couple from the village of Karumarappakkam. They have two sons, Kalisa and John Pasha. Ansari buys and sells scrap metal. He earns between 400 and 500 rupees a day ($5.50 – $6.50). Similarly, their eldest son, Kalisa, walks to the villages around his home every day selling samosas. He makes 50 to 100 Rupees ($.70 – $1.40) a day. The second son, John Pasha, was born with cerebral palsy and hand and foot deformities at birth. He is 14 years old. With the coronavirus curfew, the father and brother are unable to move around and thus cannot earn an income even to feed themselves. They have been living off of charity alone and will continue to do so until the curfew is lifted.
Families in need are depending on us! Please help us spread the word so that we are able to continue our outreach in South India.
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