Local Indian community of Rochester helping fight Covid surge

Miguel Octavio
Created: May 04, 2021 10:36 PM

(ABC 6 News) - COVID-19 is infecting and killing people in India at an alarming rate.

The surge is overwhelming hospitals and funeral pyres continue to pile up but what is happening halfway around the world is affecting Rochester.

Members from the Indian Cultural Association of Minnesota (ICAM), which serves Rochester and surrounding communities, said the situation is heartbreaking but worrying is doing no good.

They're taking action to help but said they can't do it alone.

Rochester is thousands of miles away from India but that's no excuse for Ajay Singh to ignore the crisis in his native country.

"India needs more help right now," Singh, ICAM president said. "This is a time where everyone can chip in."

ICAM board members are raising money to help India survive. Their current focus is to raise money for oxygen concentrators to be distributed to people most in need. Singh said long-term, money raised will be used for other resources.

"If we achieve our goal, we are hoping to touch many lives and hopefully save many lives as well," Alka Mehra, ICAM general secretary said.

Mehra was visiting loved ones in India before the second wave hit. 

She said her family has the means to get through but, "At the same time, I'm hearing all of the sad stories and tragedies going on," Mehra said. "You take it to heart. It is home for me."

Both Singh and Mehra immigrated to the U.S. during the 1990s. While this country is now their home, it's their roots that inspire them to give back.

"I cannot just talk enough about the generosity and the encouragement and support that I received as an immigrant," Mehra said. "It is my turn to give something back."

They call family overseas daily. Hearing the voices of their loved ones is keeping them grounded but they know others in India are not as fortunate so they're pleading with everyone to help with their mission.

"The world is connected in one way or other," Singh said. 

"It's our time to do the right thing in India," Mehra said. 

And as a world, we'll be better for it.

If you'd like to donate to ICAM's GoFundMe page, visit this link.

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