LOWELL, MA—Dharma Center of America (DCA) inaugurated a new food pantry at 144 Merrimack Street on Sunday. The event was attended by city government officials and the director of Merrimack Valley Food Bank.
DCA will be a source of nutritious food for anyone who needs it in the form of food pantry, and free yoga classes to promote a healthy lifestyle, starting February 4, 2017. Free after-school homework help and individualized tutoring will be coming soon, DCA said in a statement.
The inauguration involved lighting a traditional lamp (instead of cutting a ribbon) by Hon. Mayor Edward Kennedy. In addition to lighting the lamp, the inauguration was graced by City Councilor Rita Mercier, Executive Director of Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Amy Pessia, and 22 other individuals with business, government, academia, and community ties.
All three guests of honor welcomed DCA to the city of Lowell and expressed their enthusiasm for partnering with DCA in its endeavor to help the residents of Lowell who need support and assistance with their basic food needs.
“We are encouraged by the warm welcome and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the city of Lowell,” said Suresh K. Jain, President of DCA.
Mayor Kennedy presented DCA with a citation from the City. In addition to recognizing the important need the food pantry will fill, he emphasized that free yoga classes is an important complement to the food pantry. In addition, he voiced the need for supplemental academic support in Lowell Public Schools, and expressed excitement that DCA will be working with the Lowell School Department in bringing afterschool homework help and individualized tutoring.
Amy Pessia articulated the support of Merrimack Valley Food Bank to DCA in obtaining food, as well as assured DCA that her organization will help strengthen the food pantry’s outreach efforts in Lowell. Merrimack Valley Food Bank’s Membership Services Coordinator, Nancy Goss, also expressed enthusiasm for the burgeoning partnership between her organization and DCA to fill the needed gap in free food assistance in this particular community where DCA will serve.
In addition, both Mayor Kennedy and City Councilor Mercier pledged their support in performing community outreach functions along with the DCA team.
DCA is powered by volunteers, who are professionals in fields such as technology, finance, education, medical/pharmaceutical, and consulting. Each volunteer has been active in community service for more than 15 years in Massachusetts. The idea of opening a food pantry in Lowell was a result of several months of research and communication with city and town officials in nine cities in the Greater Boston area, before selecting Lowell.
“Given the rich diversity of the community in Lowell, pressing need for filling the food pantry gap, and serious demand for after school tutoring services, the decision to choose the city of Lowell was well justified,” said DCA’s heart and soul leaders, Dr. Yogesh Rathi, and Raghav Narayan.
DCA is a community service organization with a pending application for 501(C)(3) non-profit status. DCA’s purpose in the Lowell area is to provide food pantry, tutoring and yoga services to the community without cost in order to ensure all residents who need nutritious food and healthy lifestyle have access to it and their children who need educational services beyond the school day have access to free tutoring.