RANDOLPH, NJ— During these challenging times many in our community have stepped up to help others. One group to note is the Randolph Indian Association, comprised of local Randolph residents.  The Randolph Indian Association (RIA) is a nonprofit organization that primarily focuses on enriching the community with Indian culture, breaking down stereotypes, preventing racism, encouraging civic engagement, and community service. Some examples are annual community picnics and cultural celebrations of Indian festivals like Diwali, which are open to the whole community.  Annual service projects include food drives for the Interfaith Food Pantry. RIA also has an active youth group comprised of Indian teens in Randolph and meets to discuss service projects as well as any issues youth face or have heard with regard to stereotypes, racism, or bullying. 

Over the past few months, the organization has also taken on several initiatives in response to COVID-19, helping the local community in various ways. RIA recognized various members of the community, in appreciation of our healthcare workers and those helping out in various ways during the pandemic, like mask making, helping elders, and food donations. RIA also supported the Randolph Food Pantry by coordinating and collecting donations of food, household supplies, and masks. Numerous RIA members and youth also volunteered at the Mobile Food Pantry at Randolph High School for the Table of Hope, which in turn helped almost 300 families. Additionally, RIA launched a program called Pizzas for Providers, which donated more than $1500 in appreciation lunches to healthcare staff at area nursing homes. RIA organized drive-by parades to celebrate those who graduated during this school year. RIA youth have also been active in local community service: volunteering for the Table of Hope event, donating baked goods to local FLAG efforts, and organizing craft fundraisers. RIA youth collectively came together to also organize activities for younger students during the lockdown and posted them on a Youtube channel: Boredom Be Gone - in an effort to provide some relief to parents of young kids.

Despite the restrictions related to the pandemic and having to cancel large cultural events, the Randolph Indian Association is committed to serving the community and further enhancing cultural awareness in Randolph. RIA has supported not just the Indian community but the entire community in various ways and will continue to do so during these trying times.

For more information about the Randolph Indian Association, follow us on Instagram @randolphia_nj or on Facebook @RandolphIA. Or visit us at RIAnewjersey.org.