- Efforts include setting up a mobile field kitchen in the south-eastern city of Rzeszów and helping distribute supplies to and facilitate the transport of international students and others in Budomierz.
Several members of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha or BAPS temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey, joined BAPS volunteers from the USA, UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland, to help refugees fleeing from Ukraine and provide them with relief efforts.
Volunteers have set up a mobile field kitchen in the south-eastern Polish city of Rzeszów “which has begun feeding around 1,000 hot vegetarian meals daily to refugees of all faiths and nationalities,” according to a BAPS press release. “BAPS is also arranging accommodation facilities and coordinating medical assistance and is working closely with the Indian government and local partners,” the press release added.
Apart from Rzeszów, volunteers from Robbinsville are also in Budomierz, Poland,” on the Ukrainian border to help distribute supplies to and facilitate the transport of international students and others fleeing” the country.
The press release quoted several volunteers working on the ground including attorney Darshan Patel, who took a flight to Poland to “serve” and “help students and refugees” leaving Ukraine. “The least we can do is make them comfortable during this stressful time by providing them food and basic necessities.”
Shailesh Bhavsar, a lead BAPS volunteer from Paris, explained the process at the camp. “Once they [refugees] arrive at the camp, we work on registering them, providing them with meals, giving them a place to stay and rest before processing them to go to the airport for a flight home.”
Dharmik Sheth, a pharmaceutical professional, said in the press release that he is “following” his “faith, and family tradition,” and is emulating his father who “also volunteered during humanitarian crises.”
Nilkanthsevadas Swami, the head at the BAPS temple in Robbinsville summed up the volunteers’ efforts, who he said are “inspired by the ethos of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who personified the motto ‘In the joy of others lies our own.’” He added, “there has perhaps never been a more opportune moment to embody this selfless spirit of public service by providing the basic needs for those severely impacted by the conflict.” He said the temple staff is working with local members of the Ukrainian community and the volunteers on the ground in Poland to send necessary humanitarian aid via their logistics partners.
Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried has also offered his assistance, the press release said. He lauded the efforts of the volunteers and expressed hope that the township can “find a way to work together to help those people who are going through an unimaginably difficult time.”