In May, 2015, a group of six Renton sophomores reached out to their community, forming a group of students to feed the less fortunate. The group cooked food for over 1000 people, making hundreds of sack lunches and and fresh meals.
This project is one of many activities that senior Ritvik Vudathu performed with an independent nonprofit organization, made up of a close-knit group of family and friends. The organization is called Love All, Serve All.
‘Love All, Serve All’ is a quote that originates from India’s Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a prevalent guru and philanthropist in the mid-1900s and early-2000s.
“Sri Sathya Sai Baba was very keen on helping the poor and needy,” Vudathu said. “That was a really important quote from him, so it became the motto of our organization.”
The organization began in early 2014, and later registered through the United Charitable Organization. They are within a division called the Sai Organizations, which are formed based on Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings. These organizations span across the world, and many exist within the United States.
Since the formation of the organization, they have partnered with local women’s and children’s shelters, the Union Gospel Mission, and Yakima’s Native American reservations.
“In Yakima, we are considering building small homes for the people there,” Vudathu said. “In that area, a large portion of the population is homeless, and they’re often ignored.”
Vudathu’s extended family, separate from the service organization, funded the construction of a large function hall in his mother’s hometown of Jangareddygudem, India. The project began in 2013 and was finished in late 2014.
The building is called The RND Function Hall: R for Vudathu’s father’s name, N for his first uncle’s name, and D for his second uncle’s name.
“We chose to build a function hall because in the small city that my mom grew up in, there was a lot of poverty, and for those who had their weddings there, they were never as nice as what people could afford in the bigger cities,” Vudathu said. “With Indian weddings, you really want to make it a grand affair, so my family wanted to create a place that everyone could use without breaking the bank, even if they weren’t wealthy.”
The family hired a contractor with whom they partnered to design the layout of the building. From there, a local construction company assembled the building.
“This venture was funded almost entirely by my family,” Vudathu said. “We were lucky that we also had some friends who helped pitch in, but for the most part we didn’t want to publicize the project or make it a big deal, so we funded it through our extended family.”
Vudathu believes that service should not be done to get recognition or boost a resume.
“Most of us in this area have been blessed with nice families and a solid income, but not everyone is as fortunate,” Vudathu said. “Community service is a way for us to humble ourselves to that fact and do something for the greater good.”