“Serving with a smile!”
Mrs. Sailaja R. Polu grew up in Hyderabad, India. She came to the United States in 1983 and currently lives in Bear, Delaware. Mrs. Polu volunteers in the office at the temple and helps out with fundraising, including Baba’s Roses. She has been volunteering since the temple opened but started helping out on a regular basis in 2009 along with her husband, Mr. Polu. There was no temple when she first moved from New Jersey to Delaware in 1997, but there were several temples where she previously lived. She was keen on having a temple nearby so that kids in the community could be exposed to Indian culture as well as its spiritual and religious aspects.
“Service is in my blood.”
Mr. Ravi R. Polu lived in Andhra Pradesh, India until 1983 and came to the U.S. in 1983. He used to live in New York and New Jersey but has lived in Delaware since 1997. When he moved to Delaware, there was not a temple established, unlike in New Jersey where there were several. Mr. Polu has been a volunteer since the temple opened in 2002. At this time there were not many volunteers, so he helped in any way he could. He picked up garbage and kept the temple clean, setting an example for the other volunteers. Mr. Polu also assisted with transportation during large events due to a lack of parking, arranging buses for transporting devotees from A. I. duPont Middle School, Stanford High School, and Stone Mill Plaza to the temple. He started regularly volunteering in 2009 with his wife, Mrs. Sailaja Polu. He volunteers because he loves service and his community. Mr. Polu feels satisfied when he interacts with his fellow volunteers and helps out others. His favorite part about volunteering is the community aspect. He loves socializing and working together because it allows for many things to be accomplished. Mr. Polu always finds a way to help out even if no one tells him to.
“I love working with the younger generation.”
Mr. Siva Krishnamurthy grew up in Trivandrum, Kerala. He came to America in 1990 and currently lives in Newark, Delaware. He helps out in numerous ways as an office volunteer. At the front desk he answers devotees’ questions about functions/poojas, collects donations, sets up poojas, makes arrangements for car poojas, and more. In addition, he helps keep the temple clean and Covid-safe by wiping down everything. Mr. Krishnamurthy is the secretary of the temple and is also on the board of trustees. Within these roles he takes care of administration work. He has been involved with the temple since 1994. There was no temple at this time, so a group of people would meet at a hall once a month for poojas. He was in charge of identifying the local Indian families and informing them about these events. Mr. Krishnamurthy was involved with planning the temple and sending out questionnaires asking what deities the community wanted in the temple. He built a database of Indian families from scratch. He has to process CDs with people’s phone numbers and addresses, narrow them down to Delaware, and identify Indians within the community. This whole process took a few years in order to build an email database, but the community was very supportive of the temple. Mr. Krishnamurthy enjoys volunteering because it is very satisfying. He loves meeting people and helping out, especially the youth. They need a safe volunteer environment with positive experience. He is the volunteer coordinator, so he finds out their interests, develops tasks for them, and gives them certificates for their service. He also likes how the temple is a safe place for senior citizens to meet, have discussions, and just spend time together. Mr. Krishnamurthy’s favorite part about volunteering is working with the younger generation and learning new things from them. He also loves how the community reaches out to the temple when they need help or support. Mr. Krishnamurthy has watched the temple grow from its start to its current state.
“Volunteering has to come from the heart.”
Rohini Chitra grew up in Hyderabad & Fiji and came to the United States in 1988. She currently lives in Hockessin, Delaware. As a volunteer, she helps out a lot in the kitchen by prepping and sometimes even cooking large quantities of food and also with the cleaning of dishes many a time and helping with cleaning in the main temple. She has been a volunteer ever since the temple started 20+ years ago and loves it because she wants to give back to the community. Rohini Chitra’s motto is “just jump in and do it.” She sees that the temple needs help and volunteers, so she likes being able to contribute. Rohini Chitra and her husband are very committed to volunteering and always show up when they say they will. Rohini Chitra is always looking ahead and also for ways to make the temple operations even more efficient by spending time with overall planning and coming up with ways to get more volunteers for the temple.
“I try to do whatever I can.”
Mrs. Shoba Parthasarathy came to America 32 years ago and grew up in Madras. She currently lives in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Every Sunday she volunteers at the temple and mostly helps the priests with Mahalakshmi Abhishekams. Mrs. Parthasarathy also cleans the vessels used during poojas, takes care of the laundry, and folds it. Sometimes she assists in the kitchen with mixing and serving food. Mrs. Parthasarathy has been volunteering for almost 10 years. She volunteers because she looks forward to going to the temple each week, especially Kodikumkumum, as it is one of her main activities outside of work. Her favorite part of volunteering is being able to give her time to others. Mrs. Parthasarathy is calm, patient, and always tries to help out where she can.