Hindu Charities for America’s Annual Event ‘Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt’ Raises $35,000 for Education

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Sounds of laughter, cheers, and clapping filled Shalom Austin’s Dell Jewish Community Center here April 7 when over 400 people turned out for Hindu Charities for America or HC4A’s signature spring event, “Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt,” to raise $35,000, which will be used to provide school supplies to over 1200 children and vocational scholarships to needy students.

Now in its seventh year, “Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt” has become a highly anticipated spring event that is more successful each year. When HC4A began its school supplies initiative in 2010, it raised $2,555 for homeless children.

The popular afternoon event was filed with a diverse group of supporters, from education, Indian American community, and business leaders, to fellow non-profit organizations, individuals, and families who believe in HC4A’s mission. Over 34 general and table sponsors made up of families, community organizations, and businesses, donated for the event’s success. Also contributing were 21 local Indian restaurants which offered Indian Thali plates.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Cruz, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, praised HC4A for its work, explaining that it takes “events like this, where people step up to the plate,” to make a difference for homeless students. The mother of one of the recipients of school supplies also thanked HC4A for its help to her son, saying that the help aided him to succeed in school and make it to college.

Entertainment at the event was provided by music duo Michel and Mark Klezmer. Several dance and music programs, giving the attendees a tour of India, were also on the lineup. Seven different states of India were represented with information about each state announced and projected on a large screen. People applauded in delight and cheered when different states were announced.

Leading off the performances was Austin Arts Hall of Fame dancer Anuradha Naimpally, followed by dancers representing Punjab, led by Kamal Vats, and Gujarat, led by Shobhna Kotecha. Singer Jayeeta Dasmunshi from Musica Indian School of Music then entertained the crowd, followed by dancers representing Kerala, led by Ritu Nair and Arthi Ramesh, Rajasthan, led by Astha Daga and Mumal Joshi of Junooni Rajasthani Wings, Tamil Nadu, led by Vinitha Subramaniam of Natyalaya School, Bengal, led by Jayshree Kar and Pravi Das, and Andhra Pradesh, led by Raji Rayaprolu of Abhinaya School of Kuchipudi Dance.

More than 60 performers donated their time and talent to support HC4A’s cause as did numerous other volunteers who assisted with set up, food service, decorations, photography, videography, sound and fundraising.

HC4A is a non-religious 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged students in the local communities. __IW

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