Sri Sathya Sai Center of Atlantic City used to participate in a monthly food service at a local church for more than five years, serving 150-250 individuals each time. However, the onset of COVID-19 caused the church to close its doors. The Center set up a portable tent in a nearby area where bagged lunches containing sandwiches, fruit and bottled water were distributed; cloth facemasks were also provided. The majority of the recipients were unemployed and homeless.
In July 2021, a person helped to secure a mobile food truck which could be used during the week to serve people on the streets, as well as to offer COVID-19 tests, vaccinations and other services to the homeless. Spacious and equipped with a refrigerator and kitchen, the food truck allowed the SSSIO volunteers to transport bags of food to different locations for distribution.
For the monthly service, Sai Center members, along with community members, buy the supplies and deliver them to the center. Freshly cooked food is then delivered in trays to the truck and kept warm for serving to the needy. A community member shared, “There are a lot of homeless individuals in Atlantic City and a lot of food shortage. By partnering with groups like the Sri Sathya Sai Center, we are able to use the van to give food to people who are really are in need, as well as distribute clothes and hygiene kits.”