WEST CHESTER (October 29) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced that the third annual Diwali food drive organized by residents of four Chester County Communities collected 27,039 pounds of food for the Chester County Food Bank over the weekend.

Food drive organizers said they easily surpassed this year’s goal of 20,000 pounds and are aiming to collect 50,000 pounds next year.

The annual food drive coincides with Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light – a five-day festival celebrated in accordance with various versions of an ancient Hindu story. This year the celebration of Diwali began on October 23.Diwali

“One of the core characteristics of Diwali is to serve and feed those in need and give thanks for what has been bestowed on us so generously,” said Kiran Nukiranti, a Chester Springs resident who organizes the food drive. “This is an opportunity not only for us to give back to the community, but also to teach our young people about the value and importance of community service and to educate others about our culture.”

“The Chester County region is home to a large and growing Indian population, and it is uplifting to see individuals and families celebrating their cultural and religious traditions in a way that gives back to the greater community and specifically our neighbors in need,” Dinniman said. “I want to personally thank everyone who continues to help make the Diwali food drive such an overwhelming success. Keep up the good work!”

The food drive has grown in recent years to include hundreds of families and four area communities –Malvern Hunt, the Reserve at Eagle and Windsor Ridge.

In its inaugural (2012) year, the food drive collected 1,700 pounds of food for local families in need. Last year, participants collected a whopping 11,700 pounds. This year, the goal is raise 20,000 pounds.

Nukiranti said he is confident next year’s drive will surpass the 50,000-pound mark and credits its success to a growing number of families and young people.

“Each year we are almost doubling the previous year’s collection and we have seen a tenfold increase in the number of participants over time,” he said. “Every year I get calls from more and more families that want to get involved.”

Dinniman, who helped establish the Chester County Food Bank and Gleaning Program more than 15 years ago, said he is routinely amazed by the amount of supporters who have gotten involved in the highly successful community partnership.

 

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