The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the resulting shutdown of schools and businesses has put a strain on nonprofit organizations seeking to serve the hungry and others in need throughout the community. As the need increases, however, many in the community are stepping up to help anyway they can.
Turlock-based United Samaritans Foundation was recently the recipient of philanthropic efforts from a retired couple and youth siblings — both groups looking to do some good in a time of crisis.
Dr. Ram and Swarana Saini had read information about the work United Samaritans does in Turlock and throughout the county, but had never visited the facility. When the couple received their federal stimulus checks, they decided rather than keeping the money they would instead put it to good use.
“We feel like there are a lot of people a lot worse off than us and we thought we could help them at this time,” said Dr. Saini.
On Tuesday, the Sainis went down to the Broadway Street USF facility to donate the $2,400 they received from the government and while they were there, took the opportunity to learn more about what the nonprofit is all about — and make a few sandwiches for the organization’s lunch program.
USF is the county’s largest non-profit direct food distributor to the hungry, serving 35,000 meals a month. In addition to the nutritious lunch program, USF offers clothing and support services like showers, laundry, designated mailing addresses, phones and referrals.
“We should do everything in this hard time that we can. A lot of people don’t have jobs and seniors don’t have enough food,” said Dr. Saini.
Philanthropy is not new to the Sainis, who have often raised funds for disaster victims in the United States and India. They are also founding members of a high school in India.
The Sainis are encouraging their children and others they know in Turlock who are doing well during this crisis to follow in their footsteps with the donation.
USF Executive Director Linda Murphy-Julien was excited to see the Sainis taking an interest in the local nonprofit.
“It was amazing that they would think of us,” Murphy-Julien said.
The day after the Sainis visited USF, the organization was once again the recipient of a surprise donation, this time from two Turlock sisters.
Rebekah (8) and Lillianah (5) Whitcanack told their parents they wanted to help raise money for people in need. The children made a sign and set up a donation booth in front of their home and on Wednesday dropped off $624 for USF and then another $100 for the We Care emergency shelter program.
“It was just so adorable,” said Murphy-Julien.
She said it was great to see both those who are retired and children wanting to help USF and the people they serve.
For more information about USF, visit unitedsamaritan.org or call 209-668-4853.