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TAGB -2019 Novel Coronavirus Panel Discussion Session

Ranjani Saigal

The Telugu Association of Greater Boston has been actively engaged in bringing relevant information to the community around a variety of topics. 

The 8th  session featured a panel of  highly dedicated founders, volunteers’ s coordinators in and around MA and NH who worked day in and day out with the vulnerable sectors in the communities.

Pratima Penumarthy served as the moderator.   The panelists were involved in a variety of tasks including giving out mask kits or making hundreds masks/week and others who are packing boxes of food and  distributing food to families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic and organizations who are providing  emotional support to grieving families and assisting people in crisis situations while traveling or living abroad. 
All these volunteers stick to their commitments. They are amazing problem solvers and hack, tinker and persist till they find a way forward.

Kudos to  TAGB President RamaKrishna Penumarthy and his team, for coming forward to partner with many other organizations New England region like IAGB, TeamAid, Inc, NATS Boston Chapter (North America  Telugu society Boston chapter) ,TENA(Telangana NRI Association), BVIS (Blackstone Valley Indian Society) to support our New England communities during this unprecedented challenge.   

Each panelist described the work the organizations were doing to help during the COVID-19 crisis. They also described the key lessons learned in the process and the bright spots they have seen for their team as a result of their work. Team Aid founder Mohan Nannapaneni said the bright spot was  how their organizations’ Philosophy helps each and every individual rise above himself and herself to prove and also how each dedicated volunteer in their organization challenges oneself and puts themselves in front of others.

 Ramakrishna Penumarthy acknowledged and recognized the selfless commitment and efforts of these coordinators and volunteers. “Positivity, Coexistence, Love and Togetherness were concepts that came out in the discussions” said Penumarthy

TAGB expressed their sincere appreciation to Dr. Saraswati Muppana for being part of their core team for the ongoing COVID sessions for past 8 weeks providing all necessary information, updates and guidance on COVID-19 and related inputs on behalf of medical community. She is medical advisor and healthcare volunteer. Dr. Saraswati Muppanna is an American board certified pulmonary, critical care, Obesity and sleep medicine specialist. She is affiliated with Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Lahey Health, Milton and Plymouth. 

“ Together we’ll keep each other’s spirits up and use this time to learn new ways to care for and support each other and our planet. We as community volunteers don’t know when that will be, and what that normal will look like, but I do want to point out a few of the organizations and dedicated volunteers that are chipping in to help” said Pratima Penumarthy. 

To attend their other events please check out the TAGB Facebook page. 

Panel members:

Jharna Madan is a senior interior designer and project manager and a TV Asia correspondent in Boston. She is a passionate event planner, who is involved in several community and charitable organizations in the Boston metro area and who is the Steering Committee member of Hindi Manch and played a pivot role in the Fist Hindi Manch Rashtriya Mahotsav in 2018. Jharna also volunteers for Ekal Vidyalaya and initiated the Indiart Competition for the New England Area. She has also worked with South Asian Art gallery and launched “Local Art for Local Cause”. 
Jharna’s Care 4 Janitors organization have been delivering over 500 meals in 17 Hospitals and nursing home. 

Julie Enos Brennan: Julie Brennan is Founder of We Do Care Grief and Loss Inc.  based in Easton MA. 
Julie Founded and directed:  We Do Care is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the lives of young widows and improving the lives of children who lost a parent by providing multiple supports and resources. During this Covid-19 times WE do care organization have stepped up to provide their members everything they need from food, diapers, wipes, household items, ESPECIALLY Children’s ART bags....to keep the kids busy during these times.  Their organization offers several resources to those who have outlived their spouse or partner.

TEAM AID: Mohan Nannapaneni:  Founder of TEAM Aid, Inc., a 501 (C)(3) organization, was incorporated with the fundamental principal of assisting PEOPLE and FAMILIES, that are affected directly or indirectly by catastrophic incidents such as accidents, homicides, suicides, and natural disasters, etc. Team Aid working towards assisting and providing relief to immigrant people in need.

Shankar Magapu: National Coordinator Team Aid Inc.: Shankar Magapu is an active member in various organizations and past president of Telugu Association of Greater Boston (TAGB). He is currently one of key members in TeamAid and co-ordinating its efforts within North America. 

Padmaja Kunnapareddy:  Software Engineer by profession, a baker by passion, and she loves being an active member of our community.  Working at Acoustic, Board member of Nashua Public Library,   Chapter president for BigHelp NH  & New England Maskateer's team member.
 New England Musketeers has been getting needed material & support from United Way Liz Fitzgerald, Indian community members (Kartik Shah, Deepa Mangalat, Gautam Shah, Jasmine Shah & many more amazing volunteers raised money to purchase needed materials) & Finally State Rep’s Latha’s article in Nashua Telegraph helped to get material from a good Samaritan
Till the date, Maskateer’s delivered 1300+ Masks to Southern New Hampshire hospital, Correction Center, Nashua City Hall, Nursing Homes, & Children Homes. New England Maskateer’ mission is to deliver the face masks until the COVID-19 curve is flattened

Shova Sharma (Sewa Organization): She is a Executive Council Agent at New York Life Insurance co. She is a dedicated volunteer who is always Eager to Take Initiative and stay humble about her work. Her organization has been supporting GRASSROOTS group in making masks for COVID-19 Relief. Sewa International USA have been raising funds for reliable PPE to be donated immediately for medical workers around the United States. 

Nagasree Chakka : Nagasree Chakka  is Associate Scientist from Biogen….and is coordinating Lexington team of Massachusetts  consisting of 70 + volunteers.

Her Lexington team Volunteers varied in age from 12-84 years old. Making reusable cotton cloth masks, reusable cotton scrub caps, face shields, Crochet and 3D printed masks Securers. Kids made personalized handmade cards to express their gratitude. In the times of social distancing community has got lot closer than ever before. 

Pratima Vasiraju who is a Westford resident, mother of 2 teenage daughters, a Software Engineer with a passion for bringing like-minded people together for community service. Unite Serve Inspire (USI) is young charity organization started by Pratima this year, which is already 16 volunteers strong. USI's responded to despair caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with a food drive to benefit the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. The second food drive is in progress and will benefit the Westford Food Pantry. She is blessed with highly motivated USI volunteers who are also helping sew masks for front liners.

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