The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organization in the Tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, held Diwali celebrations with the lighting of the iconic Empire State Building to mark Diwali. On Nov. 13.
The New York City landmark was lit orange to celebrate the Festival of Lights. The annual event, which began in 2018, is organized in cooperation with the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), a press release from FIA said.
Each year, the ESRT and the FIA have been illuminating the Empire State Building in August in the colors of the Indian tricolor – orange, white and green – for the past two decades to mark India’s Independence Day.
The FIA believes that such gestures by the ESRT help in spreading the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) and also demonstrates a great harmony in spirit and deeds between people of the world’s largest and oldest democracies, organizers said in the press release.
Despite the challenges and changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIA said it has not deterred from its goal of serving the community. Although this year – FIA’s golden jubilee year – went by without the flagship India Day Parade, the FIA continued philanthropic efforts serving more than 10,000 meals to the community both in the tristate area and in India.
This year, the FIA launched its very first “Diwali Soup Kitchen – Spreading Lights of Happiness.” The FIA initiative is a complimentary meal provision to recognized soup kitchens in the tristate area, who serve meals to those in need.
Over 4,000 meals prepared in commercial and certified facilities were delivered at seven accredited soup kitchen locations in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
Held from Oct. 21 through Nov. 7, the initiative covered various parts of the states and included supporters, sponsors, and government officials, as well as the Consulate General of India in New York, participating at scheduled locations.
Similar food drives were held internationally, in various cities in India, in the state of Gujarat, following strict hygiene, social distancing and mask mandates. In Ahmedabad, the FIA distributed 2,000 meals in the slum area, while in Vadodara, FIA Committee Member Rohit Korat and his team provided more than 1,000 meals to poor kids in association with FIA’s local partner, Sai Seva Charitable Foundation, the press release said.
Throughout the COVID pandemic FIA has been actively engaged in community assisting services which include over 3,000 meals to our frontline heroes in New York and New Jersey, emergency travel and accommodation facilitation in association with the Consulate General of India NY and Air India, assistance for seniors impacted by Covid among other activities.
FIA has also been recognized by the Brooklyn borough president for the organization’s active participation and support with the community service activities held in the greater New York area.