Chicago IL: On December 11, 2017, Vaishnav Samaj of Midwest (VSM) and Vallabh Youth Organization – Education (VYOE) sponsored their first Toys for Tots event at Shreejidwar Haveli (located at 440 W. Fullerton Ave., Addison, IL). The event was attended by Hon. Evelyn Sanguinetti (Lt. Governor of Illinois), Hon. Tim Schneider (Illinois State GOP Chairman), Hon. John Dabrowski (Bloomingdale Township Assessor), Hon. Nimish Jani (Schaumburg Township Trustee), Seth Lewis (State Senate Candidate) and Dr. Bhavna Sharma-Lewis (District 76 Superintendent).
It was a very successful and well-attended event by the members of the Vaishnav community with collection of 150 toys for donation. VYOE students and parents provided warm welcome to the guests.
Dr Umang Patel welcomed all the energetic students attending VYOE Sunday school, volunteers, Board of trustees and invited dignitaries. He thanked volunteers of VYOE for achieving phenomenal success of recruiting over120 students in Sunday school, in span of just two years.
Next speaker Hon. Nimish Jani (Schaumburg Township Trustee), introduced and thanked all the honorary guests for coming and blessing the special event on this cold Sunday. First He introduced Hon. Evelyn Sanguinetti (Lt. Governor of Illinois), in his introductory speech, he compared the startling success of Honorable Mrs. Evelyn Sanguinetti to the achievement of Indian diaspora. “Her Honor also arrived in this country as a poor child of Cuban Refugee parents and climbed the ladder of success due to burning desire, determination, hard work, charming personality, and succeeded in achieving one of the highest elected position in the Illinois Government today, namely Lt. Governor”.
Lt. Governor started the address with warm greeting of ‘Namaste’, thanked VSM and VYOE for organizing the Toys for Tots drive and contributing to the greater community. She particularly thanked Nimish Jani for educating her and educating her and other dignitaries with Vaishnava Samaj Hindu faith philosophy, Tour of shreeji-dwar haveli (temple) and giving her auspicious beautiful gift of ‘shawl’.
Next speaker Mr.Timothy Sneider, Chairman of Republican Party of Illinois. Started address with greeting “Jayshrikrishna” He taught students for achieving sincere lasting pleasure, contentment and ultimate ‘Nirvana’ in one’s life by Giving rather than receiving gifts. “Like what you are doing it today by donating these toys gift to needy boys and girls, rather than and keeping toys for yourself”.
Hon. John Dabrowski (Bloomingdale Township Assessor) thanked the organization for inviting them and demonstrating the outstanding work the group’s accomplishment. He wished all the success for the future endowers.
VSM leadership (Dr. Umang Patel, MD -Chairman and Mr. Jyotin Parikh, R.Ph -President) and VYOE leadership (Mrs. Paragi Patel, R.Ph -President VYOE Chicago and Dr. Vivek Shah, PhD -Lead VYOE Chicago) were the lead coordinators of the event with support from VYOE teachers, volunteers and parents. The toys were donated by the children of VYOE was in alignment with Pujya Shri Vrajrajkumarji Mahodayshri’s message that sharing is the most important principle of being a Vaishnav. VYOE also organized the presence of Santa Claus during the event in which the children took their pictures with the Santa.
The presence of the distinguished leaders provided evidence on the growth and expansion of the local Vaishnav community over the last two decades. As an example, the Diwali and Hindu New Year event at the Haveli this year was attended by over three thousand individuals. Other special guests present were Seth Lewis (State Senate Candidate) and his wife Dr. Bhavna Sharma-Lewis (District 76 Superintendent).
Shreejidwar Haveli is a non-profit religious organization. It is dedicated to serve the religious and cultural needs of the Hindu community since 2005 and is one of cornerstone Haveli of the Midwest region. VYOE is a Global non-profit organization that offers a unique learning program to develop an appreciation for India’s rich cultural heritage, a sound value system and a variety of life skills to the children for a more productive and well-rounded life.