Indian American Hoteliers Providing Assistance to India Amid COVID-19 Surge, Including Medical Equipment
Indian ward attendant Kishan Singh prepares to attach oxygen cylinders needed to help treat patients suffering from the coronavirus to the main supply line at the Community Health Centre, a designated coronavirus treatment center, on May 21, 2021 in Jajod, Sikar District, Rajasthan, India. (Rebecca Conway/Getty Images)
India-West Staff Reporter
A number of Indian American hoteliers have stepped up to provide aid to India as it continues to weather the storm of a second wave in the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Asian Hospitality reports that Atlanta hotelier and former Asian American Hotel Owners Association chairman Mike Patel is working with non-profit Joy of Sharing to send oxygen canisters, ventilators, masks and other medical supplies to India.
Additionally, California hotelier Sunil “Sunny” Tolani, founder of the Prince Organization, has been sending donations through his organization; while another California hotelier, Bharat “Bobby” Patel, is working with Leuva Patidar Samaj of the U.S. to build oxygen generating plants for Indian hotels, the report said.
“India is devastated today, I’m devastated, we’re in a tragic situation in which more than 3,000 people a day are passing away due to this COVID crisis,” Patel said in a video promoting Joy of Sharing’s aid campaign. “They’re in dire straits. People are getting out of breath, they can’t even breath to live,” he added.
Joy of Sharing will source the equipment in the U.S. and with help of UPS will take the equipment through customs and deliver to hospital of the contributors’ choice.
Partnering with the agency for the India project are the Tarsadia Foundation, Rotary Club of Bardoli, Playful India, MSI Charitable Trust, Anekant Community Center and others, according to the report.
“Our first round of donations has been airlifted to India, including 500-plus units of necessary medical equipment including oxygen concentrators and more,” the agency said, adding that 100 percent of the donations it receives will go to India COVID-19 relief efforts, which includes medical care and supplies and access to meals.
As of May 18, there have been 25,228,996 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 278,719 deaths in India, according to the World Health Organization. As of May 4, 175,171,482 vaccine doses had been administered, the report noted.
“It seems like it’s been a perfect storm of things with the air pollution, which has been very high in India, people have died from asthma, and no social distancing and no wearing of masks,” Tolani said in an interview with CNN. “These are the things that are extremely high risk for them and contributed to this COVID infection.”
Tolani’s Prince Organization has donated more than $327,000 in aid to India, including direct cash payments and covering travel and lodging costs for family and friends he flew from India to the U.S. for vaccinations.
His organization does not accept outside donations, but he encourages others to make donations through other groups, such as AAHOA, Indian American community groups and churches, the report said.
He also has heard that some of the large hotel companies he franchises with, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group, will be making contributions due in part to his appeal on TV. Along with contributions from other sources, that could total $500,000 more in aid.
For Bobby Patel, who lives in Alameda, California, the crisis in India strikes close to home.
So, when LPS of USA president Nancy Patel asked Bobby Patel, who is a past president of the organization, and board member Dipak Patel for help, they were more than happy too pitch in, the report notes.
Bobby Patel said LPS USA has raised nearly $400,000 to provide the plants to nine different sized hospitals in hospitals around India. Two have been installed, including one at Umrakh Hospital outside Surat, India, and work will begin on installing two more in June. More will come by June, the report adds.
Nancy Patel said she went to her officers and the LPS of USA board as soon as the COVID crisis in India began in April and said the organization had to send aid, it said.
Members of the Asian American hotelier community have been providing similar donations to those in need since the beginning of the pandemic, the report noted.