When it comes to charitable giving and volunteering, the fall and winter holidays are when we often see a big surge from the community. Thanksgiving and Christmas may come to mind, but for the Byers Station community in Chester County, the holiday of Diwali—the Festival of Light—is the catalyst for a coordinated group effort to give back. Diwali (sometimes spelled “Deepavali”) is a five-day Hindu celebration that takes place each autumn in the Northern Hemisphere to signify the victory of light over dark and good over evil.
Since 2012, friends and neighbors in Byers Station and beyond have banded together to create the Diwali Food Drive, which captures the spirit of giving to those in need, a fundamental part of of the Diwali holiday. By creating individual goals on the Diwali Food Drive website, communities and neighborhoods demonstrate through their actions how much strength there is in numbers. By combining their smaller goals, all of the communities together can accomplish the main goal: This year’s goal was 60,000 pounds of food!
Chester County Food Bank is honored to be one of the recipients of this amazing community effort. This year’s drive, which wrapped up on October 21, brought in 25,532 pounds of food donations. A portion of these donations will also be sent to victims of Hurricane Harvey.
We’ve been one of the Diwali Food Drive’s distribution partners since its inception, and we’ve watched the initiative grow and evolve. Using word-of-mouth and harnessing the power of social media, the collective has expanded well beyond Byers Station to include 12 other communities throughout Chester County. The drive has become an annual tradition; families include their children, neighbors recruit one another—politicians are even getting involved! This year, Pennsylvania Rep. Duane Miller was present at various Chester County Diwali Food Drive events and was a vocal supporter of the mission.
The Diwali Food Drive’s impact cannot be understated. In the 5 years since it began, this group has brought 116,521 pounds of food directly to the Chester County Food Bank! Thanks to this donation, we are able to continue our mission of addressing hunger across the county, and sustain our many programs and initiatives that provide food for our neighbors in need.
Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate food, funds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.
The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community.
First two photos: Pixabay; remaining photos: Balaji Studios