A Lot to be Thankful For…
As our two year grant period comes to a close, we would like to share our accomplishments and failures. South Asians are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally a very diverse group of people. Approximately 300,000 South Asians live in New Jersey with Middlesex County alone having about 120,000 South Asians. Our goal was to transform the temples as a resource center for wellness information. We wanted to encourage the attendees/devotees to incorporate healthy food choices and physical activity. We were able to bring about some healthy changes in the temple environment.
We hosted events in the three temples; Sri Guruvaayoorappan, Durga Mandir, and Sai Datta Peetham. These temples are visited by a large South Asian population and are ocated in Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties. We were very excited to find that many families traveled from other counties to attend weekend services and special festivities. With that information on hand, we started to strategically plan events during these auspicious days.
Listed below are some of our noteworthy accomplishments that we are very grateful for:
- We were able to modify, taste test, and serve 4 traditional recipes. These recipes were healthier versions of the meals that were served at the temple on weekends
- Our group worked with the kitchen staff to promote the use of healthier fats instead of “ghee“
- On the weekends, we were able to serve water as the primary beverage of choice instead of sugary chai(tea)
- Instead of whole-milk, low-fat dairy was promoted and utilized throughout each temple
Our one big failure was that we were unable to create walking routes in the parking lots outside each temple. However, that failure came with a small win. We were able to get permission to create walking spaces inside the temple.
We are very thankful for the funding given to us over these past two years and hope that our efforts will continue to change the habits, patterns, and lives of South Asians in New Jersey and beyond.
About the Grantee
SATHI The South Asian Total Health Initiative (SATHI) was established in 2007 at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with the mission to improve health outcomes in South Asians living in the United States. SATHI serves as a platform to engage multidisciplinary professionals such as researchers, health practitioners, public health experts, community-based organizations and community members.