A Harrisburg youth organization helped collect and donate 1,100 pounds of food to the Harrisburg Community Food Pantry this month.
The Multicultural Knights partnered with SEWA Diwali, a group that promotes service during Diwali, which often is referred to as the Festival of Lights and is one of the largest spiritual and religious festivals celebrated by many, said Harrisburg Multicultural Festival Chair Jit Hiremath.
“Sewa means selfless service. With Diwali, we want to say it is not just about celebrating amongst ourselves, but bringing it to the community,” Hiremath said.
SEWA held service projects in Charlotte last year during Diwali. This year, SEWA approached Hiremath about working with the Multicultural Knights.
The knights began collecting food Nov. 1 and opened several drop-off places across Harrisburg. They closed collections Nov. 14.
When the Knights brought the food to the pantry Saturday, Nov. 20, the total weight was 1,100 pounds.
“The neighbors in Harrisburg joined hands, and we were able to collect 1,100 pounds of food,” Hiremath said. “We were just expecting to collect 200 or 300 pounds.”
The Multicultural Knights is a youth organization based in service that started during the beginning of the pandemic as a way for young people to safely get out of the house and give back to the community.
Hiremath helped found the youth organization when he noticed youth in the community feeling restless and isolated during the pandemic.
As the group’s first project, students worked with the town to clean up and beautify the park off Stallings Road.
“It gave them an outlet,” Hiremath said. “While they were at home, it gave them a reason to step out of the house. And by being outdoors, they could social distance while working.”
With the success of the food drive, Hiremath said, the Knights plan to work with SEWA again in the future.
For anyone in need of food assistance in the Harrisburg area, the Harrisburg Community Food Pantry is open for curbside pickup on Mondays from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Volunteers will meet people at the curb to collect family size and other information.
The Harrisburg pantry is also open for food drop offs Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at Rocky River Presbyterian Church.