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COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS - Diwali Celebrations Take Place in Bakersfield

Day 3 of Diwali takes place at the Chinmaya Mission, incorporating the idea of their first donation drive for the Jameson Center.
Posted at 6:48 PM, Nov 12, 2023
  • Video shows how the community of Bakersfield display the true meaning of Diwali by hosting their first annual donation drive for the Jameson Center.

    The Chinmaya Mission in Bakersfield where the community came to celebrate day 3 of Diwali. This year marks its first year of coordinating a donation drive for a specific organization in the area, further spreading the meaning of Diwali.

    “It was good to you know use this auspicious occasion here to give back to the community you know so it feels even nicer and better to do that,” said volunteer Kapil Bali.

    Bali says Diwali is the biggest Hindi festival celebrated in India, and while this isn’t the first Bakersfield Diwali festival, this is the first year that a portion of their efforts are going toward donations for the Jameson Center — an emergency shelter for at risk youth in the foster care system.

    “The clothes the toys and those things they flow in and they just flow back out and it is overwhelming the generosity of this community it is overwhelming the generosity of you so thank you so much,” said Tim Stevens, Director of the Jameson Center.

    During the ceremony, the center was honored with the donations, Stevens says they have around 120 kids come into the center each month and the donations could last the center all year.

    “Somebody who comes in may stay for a day or so and then hopefully go to grandma or you know a family member,” said Stevens. “They’ll take something with them, we always want them to take something with them we want them to know that people care that this community cares and a perfect example is the good people here at the Chinmaya Mission.”

    The donation drive was mainly coordinated by Bali however, he says its typical to act generous and give more during the Diwali so collecting donations was never an issue.

    “While we are doing this why don’t we also do this kind of a thing you know and everyone has you know things at home which they want to donate and then we said okay we’ll pick a place that really needs it,” said Bali. “Its not you know that we have to give it to somebody and you know it’s just we know exactly and it’s within our local community as well.”

    President of the Chinaya Mission Anil Mehta says Diwali is a festival of lights, signifying the light with in ourselves, finding ways to improve qualities from with in, and removing bad qualities such as ignorance.

    Mehta says the spirit of Diwali has always been centered on giving more and improving on personal characteristics — an important quality that he says much be passed onto each generation.

    “Our motto is to give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time and our pledge that you read it says the service our country is the service of the lord of lords and devotion to the people is devotion to the supreme self< said Mehta. “So, we teach them to serve not only our community but the whole world.”

    Volunteers say they are extremely pleased to see the turnout of this years donations and are looking forward to next year where the goal is to get more of the community and businesses involved in donations for Diwali.


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