FRANKLIN, NJ – A group of township youth last week delivered much-needed food and monetary support to help the Franklin Food Bank continue its mission of assisting families in need. 

Back in April, members of the New Jersey chapter of Design Your Careers (DYC) set up a GoFundMe and reached out to family, friends, and neighbors via email, text, phone calls and social media in an effort to raise money for the Franklin Food Bank. Additionally, Chahel Kumar, a volunteer with the organization, also worked to collect non-perishables such as cereal, pasta, sauce, and more. 

On the afternoon of July 29, DYC East Coast Regional Director Tanmayi Sayani, Chapter Leaders Chandravathi Sayani and Akul Mellela along with Chahel and fellow volunteer Arun Mellela delivered approximately 50 pounds of food and a check for $500 to the Franklin Food Bank.

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"We know people in various sectors of society, especially the impoverished, are effected and even more so with this COVID situation. It is hard for them to get food," said DYV Chapter Leader Chandravathi Sayani. "This is a population that needs help and we wanted to initiate this project to help them."

According to Franklin Township Councilman-at-Large Sivarama Anbarasan, who helped facilitate delivery of the donation, generous actions such as this are an example of how younger residents can promote community activism and demonstrate civic responsibility. "I appreciate their sense of care and duty for the neighborhood," said Anbarasan, adding, "Most importantly, they dedicated their time for a great cause. We would love to see more school-age children get into helping the community they live in."

Design Your Careers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a global collaborative central platform that helps learn-share 'several skills' with each other. According to the organization's website (https://www.designyourcareers.org), DYC provides 'the opportunity to share a skill, showcase talent, serve the community and the ability to inspire or guide others, while also encouraging them to acquire well-round skills.' 

The New Jersey chapter of DYC was established in 2018 and is comprised of more than a dozen local boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 20 dedicated to providing students of all ages with the opportunity to come out and share their knowledge with the world. Through student- and mentor-led workshops as well as community service, members, said Sayani, are able to 'share their insights and skills on a broad range of topics.' 

"Our goal is to help build up leadership because, ultimately, what we want is a community full of leaders," said Sayani. 

"Children getting involved this early is very good for the township. Hopefully, it will encourage others to help our fellow residents. It is a good experience for the kids and a very good example that they have set for other kids in the neighborhood," said Anbarasan, referencing a saying from his native Tamil language that transcribes in English as 'many drops of water create a flood.' 

"'When you look at a rain drop, you think, it's just one drop, what can it do? But millions of millions of droplets make a flood," he said. "If all kids in middle and/or high school did things like this, the results would be significant and think how much it could help organizations like the food bank."

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