To Serve Mankind as One’s Larger Self

SRF’s Headquarters, Temples, and Centers Serve the Community During the Holidays


February 24, 2017

In the spirit of Paramahansa Yogananda’s ideal of serving mankind as one’s larger Self, many Self-Realization Fellowship temples, centers, and groups around the country hosted events and participated in charitable drives for their local communities during the recent holiday season. Monastics from the Mother Center also extended a warm hand to those feeling the chill of difficulties at Christmastime. Whether assisting with food drives or caroling at rest homes or a hospital, participants experienced a deep feeling of God’s love through fellowship with one another and in spreading that divine joy to those in need. Following are some examples of the many activities organized by SRF monastics and members to celebrate the spirit of the holidays around the country.

Nuns Rest home visit 2016

Monks and nuns from the International Headquarters of Self-Realization Fellowship made special visits to a local hospital and two rest homes. In mid-December, a group of nuns brought cheer and goodwill to the residents of a rest home in Glendale, California, where they sang Christmas carols and passed out gifts. The residents enjoyed the visit greatly—as evidenced by an elderly blind man from Cuba who pulled a guitar from his bedside and sang along in Spanish.

Caroling Monks  

Patients at the Los Angeles County Hospital, and residents of a rest home in Montrose, California, received a festive visit from a group of caroling SRF monks, accompanied by a jolly Santa with gifts for all.

Many SRF centers and groups around the country participated in much needed annual food drives. The Chicago Meditation Group collected food donations to help support a local non-profit organization, Housing Forward, that offers comprehensive aid to those who are homeless in the community. The Denver Meditation Group lent their support to a food and toy drive in conjunction with the Jefferson County Action Center, which services families in need. The Sacramento Center hosted its annual holiday food drive to benefit families in need, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Meditation Group once again joined with Good Samaritans of Garland, Texas, to conduct their annual food drive—which resulted in nearly 300 pounds of needed items. The New York City Center held its annual food drive to support the City Harvest Food Bank’s Food Rescue initiative (a program that combats food waste by collecting and delivering good food that otherwise would be tossed away) and its Healthy Neighborhoods program to provide nourishing meals to those in need. Adults and children from the Seattle Center packed boxes for the elderly and disabled during their annual “Shoeboxes of Joy” charity event.

  SD Holiday Outreach

The Self-Realization Fellowship San Diego Temple hosted two food drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas to benefit the “Special Delivery” non-profit organization, which prepares and delivers warm meals to medically homebound people with AIDS, cancer, and other critical illnesses. Forty large sacks of non-perishable food items and a total of $3,400 were donated to the charitable events. For Christmas, temple members conducted a toy drive for the Rady Children’s Hospital and Moores Cancer Center (see photo), and also caroled at local nursing homes.

The Young Adult Group from our Lake Shrine Temple in Pacific Palisades, California, sponsored a “Love-and-Serve” project to create and distribute seventy-five “care-kits” for Santa Monica homeless. The kits consisted of gloves, toiletries, gift cards for meals, and other useful items, donated by Lake Shrine members and also by local retailers and businesses.

  Bicycles donated by Encinitas to the Community Resource Center

In lieu of its annual food drive, our Encinitas Temple hosted a toy drive to benefit the poor and needy through the local Community Resource Center. A coordinator of the center wrote the following about SRF’s contributions: “I can’t even start to explain how grateful we all are for the generous outpouring of gifts and bikes from Self-Realization Fellowship. What was fueled by your enthusiasm, and grew throughout the members of your Fellowship, has provided the most impactful collection of toys and bikes that Community Resource Center has ever been the recipient of. The final numbers are 632 toys, 74 brand new bikes, gift cards totaling $1,440, and two nearly new surfboards!”

Though the 2016 holiday season has come to a close, altruistic activities such as these have created ripples of God’s love that will be felt throughout the new year.

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