Chakra Announcements

We Need a Volunteer From Every Temple...

by Yadunandana Pada dasa

Posted March 24, 2006

...to Serve Your Local Ashram Devotees with Health Care. We say that 'service to the devotees is the highest service;' perhaps this is your opportunity to spend an hour each week on performing the highest yaj˝a-sacrifice and offering to the Lord.

The Good news is that the GBC, headed by Badrinarayana Prabhu and Murari Gupta Prabhu from Miami, have indeed begun researching very practical strategies for the long-term procurement of health care for the asrama devotees and temple householders in the United States, with the plan of later expanding to other non socialized nations. These contingencies are, in my opinion, very realistic for the long-term and we ask everyone to encourage and support the leaders to continue such development. There are a dozen mature, qualified and professional devotees researching options and developing practical models. An excellent example is a model already working in Miami, where a non-profit clinic run by Murari Gupta Prabhu is already providing all the health care needs for the local temple, exclusively from their non-profit proceeds at the clinic itself. This same model is in the process of being cloned at Alachua in the not too distant future and then to other cities in the USA. This particular prospect is truly very exciting and Murari Gupta Prabhu has already proven his capability and success in the Miami working model.

Other such strategies are being researched and you will be able to read about them as they develop, on Click Here

However, the bad news is that for the 'short-term', here and now, there are no health insurance plans to cover at least catastrophic hospitalization for most temples, what to speak of general medical care. True, in a lot of cases, if one is in good standing with the local temple and is part of the core ashram, the temple president will pay for regular doctor office visits and small emergencies, *if* the money is available. Although, we know that many times those funds are just not available or earmarked for these needs, because 'festivals need to go on and buildings need to be maintained.' Moreover, there is no catastrophic hospitalization plan and devotees are fated to lower quality care that is set aside for the homeless and impoverished, with longer waiting periods and less qualified health care professionals, sometimes in bad facilities. In some extreme cases devotees who are seriously injured just have to go back home to their parents or families who then brunt the cost of their care.

There *are* insurance policies out there that would cost the temples literally pennies out of each incoming dollar to maintain the health care of the devotees. The problem is having to "Rob Peter to pay Paul." Most temples are already under-budgeted and it is difficult for some to justify downgrading festivals or preaching programs for the sake of such new programs, which we are so accustomed to doing without for so long, and which are yet to be proven.

So, I have a practical solution. This solution has already proven itself in the form of the Temporary Vrndavan Hospice (www.buddhiyoga.org/Hospice). We have succeeded in collecting very small amounts from a number of devotees each month globally ($5 or $12, $27) to secure larger amount of funds for the hospice of dying devotees in Vrndavan. For the last five months, we have been able to collect and distribute funds to help six (6) devotees in need of hospice, funerals, and even medical care and operations. The program has been quite successful because the hearts of the donors are tremendous and the amounts collected from each person monthly are extremely minimal. We even have donors on public assistance who are still able to give a few dollars each month. At the end of the month, we have a substantial resource of funds to help devotees in need. This is a huge success and a sobering reality.

I would like to offer the congregations of each temple the opportunity to take this service into their own hands and drive a donation fund for their city or locale that will be exclusively used for the health care and hospice needs of their local temple and asrama devotees. After careful consideration, I and those who advise me, have concluded that the Indian community, life members, and independent householder disciples of each temple location would be best suited to effectively and successfully perform this very important Seva for the devotees of Lord Krsna.

We hereby ask you, the reader, to help us find a member or a small group of members from your community to please volunteer one hour a month to run and maintain a very similar monthly donation fund as we have done with the Temporary Vrndavan Hospice. It is quite simple and incredibly, incredibly easy. It is all done on-line over the internet and it is mostly all automated by PayPal.com. There is very little for you to do after asking your friends and congregation to subscribe to a monthly donation of around $12 from their debit or credit cards each month. The biggest reward is in watching the hearts of the congregation open up with compassion and their will to render this important and valuable service to help those devotees in need. This experience builds incredible family bonds among those involved and those whom we are helping. We have seen this and are experiencing great love and affection among our donors and with those families whom we are helping with the Vrndavan Hospice Fund.

I will personally help you set up a PayPal account and help you, if needed, to write promotional letters and assurances to your congregations of your intentions and of our transparency and accountability. Our existing model will testify to that. The PayPal account will act as a transparent escrow account where the funds will be kept until properly distributed each month to pay for the health care insurance policies and hospice needs of your local devotees. You will handle all the funds and I will always be there, if needed for support or advice.

Ideally, we are asking for one or two volunteers, from each temple congregation around the United States, either from your local Indian community, life members, or independent grhastas who have some social access to the rest your local congregation. One task is to approach people via email, phone, in person, letters, etc. to kindly give around $12 each month by going to your new paypal.com/ account and subscribing a monthly donation. Another task is to post the donations on a very simple and user-friendly online spreadsheet (which I will provide for you), identical to the one we use for the Hospice fund. A third, but one-time, task will be to find a local insurance broker and a premium health plan that covers catastrophic hospitalization as well as some general care, and then sign up those devotees who qualify as full time temple devotees. I can help you with this action item as well. The monthly premium payment will go directly from the donation fund to the Insurance Company. All this could be handled by one person, very part-time; but, it would be ideal to have a small 2-3 person team-effort to minimize the work and help watch over the entire operation. It is actually quite fun; those who are helping me with the Vrndavan Hospice Fund are genuinely happy with this service, knowing that they are touching a lot of hearts and making others feel appreciated and safe. This is a very rewarding Seva for all.

If you are interested in volunteering to help your local temple devotees in this manner, please contact me and I can show you how and where to begin. I will even personally assist in setting up each temple's fund online as we have done with ours. Our formula works, please volunteer and contact me as soon as possible.

You can contact me at yadu@yadu.org and visit our web site at www.buddhiyoga.org/. I am sure I can answer all your questions and that you will find a place in your heart for this very personal Seva to the Lord.

All glories to Krsna's devotees, they are very few and very delicate, and they always need our help.