Birth of Astha

Astha was born on the streets of Sydney on 27 January 2017 when me and my wife distributed 10 home-made dinner boxes to homeless people. We walked from Martin place to Central station for 2.5 hours to distribute 10 dinner boxes of veg curry with rice. Keeping the tiredness aside, satisfaction of feeding needy was bringing smiles on our faces. That motivated us to continue our journey for another 3 Fridays. Our main focus was to feed people staying in tents around central station.

During the 4th week, while delivering dinner packs to homeless people, I saw some homeless people queued up for food service under Central Station. I thought, I should go and have a look at their service. They were serving hot tea, coffee and sandwiches. I was very impressed as people knew about this service and they were waiting patiently to be served. I gathered courage and asked one of the service person in the group about what they do and also introduced myself. I told him that this was very close to my heart and I also am serving dinner packs from past three weeks. I showed him the pictures of the dinner boxes I was serving. He introduced himself to me as Charlie and told me that he was serving food to the homeless people from past 6 years.

Our Service at Central Station

I was excited to meet someone with the similar vision and feeling, who has so much compassion and commitment to serve the community. He shared with me the process they follow around the service and also mentioned that almost every day Korean church comes on the same spot for this food service. In my conversation with him, I asked him, “If any day is available for me to be able to do the same service?” He advised me that Wednesday’s are free as Church has meetings on that day. This really put me in a dilemma as I was thinking in my mind that, I have a full time job and it may not be possible for me to cook after my work and bring food in time for the service. Suddenly, Charlie remembered that, “Alternate Saturday’s no one comes to serve these people”.

When I asked him, how many people are expected for dinner service? His reply was, “Not more than 30 “. I also asked him, what is their preference in food, do they like curry? His response was anything you wish to serve them, they love curry.

A quick calculation ran into my mind, if I serve about 10 dinner boxes in a week, it will be same as serving 30 people in two weeks? I quickly accepted the spot to serve the homeless on alternate Saturday’s at Central station. Charlie said, come and serve from next Saturday’s at 7 pm. I was overjoyed and called Ritu, who was looking after kids on that day. She was also happy to know that we will have fixed place to serve people. Charlie promised to inform all the people who came to his service that there will be dinner service on all Saturdays now.

On the following Saturday, we decided that we will make 30 - 40 servings of Butter chicken & rice along with some slices of cake, water and bananas. When we reached there, we were so happy to see people already waiting for the service. We finished all food within 20 mins. Everyone enjoyed the food and they thanked us for serving warm and fresh food. We were overjoyed with the experience. The smile on their lips and the satisfaction we felt after serving motivated us to form Astha team to serve more homeless and needy people.

Thereafter on every fortnightly Saturday's we served meals underneath the Central Station. Astha's team started only with distributing food to 30 less fortunate and hungry people. Astha has now progressed to serve more than 120 homeless people. Astha’s continuous efforts got wings when families and friends provided more support. With their help, we have now also started distributing ready to eat canned food, warm clothes including hats, shoes, socks, quilts and pillows. We are now partnering with restaurants and cafe's which also help provide meals sometimes.

Astha is currently at an inception phase and aims to register as a not for profit charity organization. As Astha continues to grow and marks it’s footprints in this world of sharing, it needs your support to serve more and more homeless and less fortunate.

I need to mention that we have taken appropriate permissions from the city council and homelessness department. Also we are not associated with any temples and we do not want to promote any religion. All we want to promote is compassion and humanity. We do not discriminate while serving food if someone is homeless or not. Personally, we believe in Shirdi Sai Baba as he is our Guru, we follow his preaching’s as all are equal. He believed in feeding the hungry in his lifetime and we are just trying to follow his path.

No One Sleeps

On An Empty Stomach