The Importance Of Paying It Forward

By Meetal Desai • February 10, 2014

I am an Indian-American that was raised Hindu- my parents have become more religious as I have gotten older but my sister and I were never taught the Hindu doctrine growing up. Instead, my parents would encourage us to embody the many community-centric principles and the spirit of generosity embodied by Hinduism by participating in acts of service and always paying it forward.

In my personal life, I feel a strong affinity towards our men and women in the armed forces. While I do not know anyone that has served in combat, I have been inspired by many of the personal stories I have heard and read about our young men and women that serve our country so unselfishly. I am even more inspired by the sacrifices that the families of soldiers have made and the grace with which they accept their loved ones willingness to give back and keep people like myself and my family safe in secure.

As a result, since 2004, I have been sending care packages to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan using the web site Soldiers ask for the smallest comforts of home (items such as toiletries, snacks, videos, magazines)- anything that will help ease their time away from their loved ones and pass the time. I have gotten at least 50 letters from our troops saying just how much a simple "thank you" means to them and how it keeps them going. I encourage anyone who is reading this to look at the site and put a package together- it really means a lot to the person on the receiving end.

In terms of paying it forward- I was recently blessed with a beautiful second daughter named Nina. My husband and I tried for a long time to get pregnant with a second child and she was conceived in the month AFTER I decided to stop focusing on my own pregnancy woes and start focusing on doing more for society. After her arrival, I decided to send 3 care packages to Afghanistan each month for the first year of her life. I am grateful for the blessings that I have been given and realize now is the time to say thank you and give back. I love being able to send care packages because it is direct service and I know it really makes a difference.

So from the Desai Family- THANK YOU UNIVERSE and GOD BLESS our men and women in uniform!


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