Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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ISKCON Tucson Creatively Partners with Local Outreach to Serve 20,000 Plates of Prasadam
By ISKCON News   |  Dec 16, 2023
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For the past fifteen years, ISKCON Tucson has been serving the city’s unhoused with a healthy seven-course meal along with the chanting of the holy name.

The monthly prasadam distribution, which includes kirtan, is part of a partnership with Southside Presbyterian’s “Cross Streets Community” initiative. The CSC program is a multi-faceted outreach to the unhoused population of Tucson that offers hot meals, showers, laundry services, haircuts, a clothing room, and a place to feel safe and loved. It’s been an incredible collaboration for devotees to provide for both the material and spiritual needs of the less fortunate on Tucson’s southside.

“We have served over 20,000 plates of prasadam to date,” said Tucson’s Temple President Sandamini Devi Dasi, “and just received another grant of $2,000, bringing the total grant funds to $7,000 over the last two years.” She learned that once an organization meets certain qualifications with its city’s community food bank, it is eligible to receive grants that come up periodically for its work. “For us, that includes the Southside church program as well as our Sunday Feast and various festivals where we offer free prasad to the public.”

One Tucson temple devotee shared why this service is so deeply personal for her. “Participating in ‘Food For Life’ has been very powerful and meaningful for me,” said Lalita Devi Dasi, “Not only for the hungry people who we are able to feed, or the joy of helping another in need…but, because I know first hand the effect that the ‘Food For Life’ program can have.” She continued, “About 12 years ago, I was homeless and was fed many times by ‘Food For Life.’ This was the only time I was able to get a nutritious, fresh, vegetarian meal. The devotees also treated me with dignity and love. Now, so many years later, I have dedicated my life to Krishna, and my life is full of love and joy. It is so cathartic to be on the other side of the table distributing the mercy of Krishna prasadam. We never know who is on the receiving end of that mercy!”

The Tucson community, known for its many creative and successful outreach programs, shows the power of partnering with already existing initiatives. “We hope this can inspire other temples to explore possible collaboration with organizations in their city or region. Now the directors of the program are even asking us to teach their guests yoga and meditation as a way to help them transition to a more balanced and meaningful life,” noted Sandamini Devi Dasi.

Visit this link to learn how you can sponsor one of these monthly distributions for just $125, which supplies 100 plates of prasadam to one of Tucson’s most vulnerable populations.

To follow the Tucson Temple’s ongoing activities, visit their website and Facebook page.

To view live & archived videos from temple programs, classes, feasts, and kirtans, visit their YouTube and Vimeo accounts, or find the latest content on their Transcental Media Network Facebook page.

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