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Independent Thoughts: Fundraiser to benefit earthquake survivors

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Featured

When multiple earthquakes rattled Turkey and Syria last month, causing more than 50,000 deaths and about $85 billion in damages, it hit home for a number of Hopkinton residents who have connections to the Western Asian nations.

Evanya Mathur, president of Hopkinton High School’s South Asian Affinity Group, was inspired to find a way to help. After reaching out to the South Asian Circle of Hopkinton, she helped put together a Chai & Snacks Fundraiser to benefit survivors of the devastation.

The fundraiser, which started Feb. 24 and runs until March 19, focuses on an integral part of the South Asian culture: afternoon chai. A type of Indian tea, chai can be consumed with both sweet and savory snacks. Individuals can purchase a “sweet ’n’ savory” sampler box or a chai tin with cardamom rose cookies, each for $10, or simply make a donation.

“In our community we are so lucky to have so many wonderful resources at our disposal,” Mathur said. “In our culture we love good snacks and good food, so we thought this would be the best way to go about raising funds.”

A friend of Mathur’s mother who lives in Turkey is helping to coordinate the relief efforts.

“After speaking with her and seeing the effect that it’s had on the people over there, it’s stemmed the drive to do this even more,” Mathur said. “I also know a lot of people with Turkish and Syrian backgrounds who are students at the high school.”

Mathur said most of the proceeds will be used to purchase supplies such as baby formula and diapers and other items for orphaned children and those in the hospital.

Some of the items will be obtained from a local Indian food store and packaged by volunteers, while a SACH board member is making the chai and cookies at home. The boxes will be available in early April.

Items can be purchased and donations can be made at southasiancircleofhopkinton.company.site.

“I hope that people will be able to donate, and all the money will go directly to where we say it’s going, we won’t be taking any of the profits,” Mathur said. “All we want to do is help people. It’s a good cause.”

Hopkinton 101 expands, relocates

Danielle Cook, the adult services librarian at the Hopkinton Public Library, is looking to expand Hopkinton 101, an event that was started a couple of years ago to promote town departments and nonprofits.

Hopkinton 101, scheduled for Saturday, May 6, will move from the Town Common to the Hopkinton High School Athletic Center both to get more space and to avoid concerns about the weather.

Also this year, businesses are being invited to participate.

“In the past we had kept it to just nonprofits to keep it small and manageable,” Cook said. “But there are so many businesses in town and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to show residents what they are all about.”

Businesses will be asked to make a small donation to help cover costs.

Any organization with an interest in participating should contact Cook at dcook@hopkintonma.gov.

Job Seekers Networking Group seeks members

Maura Shea, a senior library assistant at the Hopkinton Public Library, is looking to boost attendance by local residents in the 50-Plus Job Seekers Networking Group. The program is run in collaboration with about other 60 libraries in Massachusetts.

“If you are unemployed and actively looking, underemployed, seeking a new career direction, re-entering the job market after a long employment gap, or recently retired and looking for your ‘encore career,’ this networking group program is perfect for you,” the program description reads. “Remember, 85 percent of jobs are found through networking.”

The group meets via Zoom on the first and third Wednesday mornings of the month and provides a “safe and comfortable environment conducive to developing new relationships and developing skills and strategies to help in your career transition.”

Each meeting features a new topic and includes a presentation and hands-on workshop on topics relevant to career transition, guest speakers, access to hiring managers, small group breakout rooms to network, and one-on-one coaching guidance.

The meetings are facilitated by Deborah Hope, a former Fortune 500 executive, investment banker and entrepreneur who transitioned to executive coaching over 12 years ago.

For more information, visit hopkintonlibrary.org.

Resident competes in Braille Challenge

Congratulations to Hopkinton’s Gesilene Vitoria, who finished second among freshmen in last month’s 23rd annual New England Regional Braille Challenge at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.

The competition, which brings together students from across New England, is dedicated to test the honed braille skills of blind and visually impaired children, which are critical for their success in the sighted world.