"Serving God by Serving Humanity": Livermore Hindu Temple Reaches Out with Health Care, Interfaith Work

August 21, 2006

Source: Media News


On August 21, 2006 Media News reported, "Dr. Kishore Narra began volunteering at the Livermore Shiva-Vishnu Temple's biweekly health clinic almost four years ago as a way to give back to his community. The doctor of internal medicine, also a longtime devotee at the temple, said the temple is more than a religious landmark. It also is a place for those looking for public services. 'People go to pray, but as a temple, they also have to care for humanity,' Narra said. 'And this is what I can offer.' Narra and his medical colleagues at the temple have seen people who were falling through the cracks of the health care system. Many of the clinic's patients are the elderly parents of Indo-American children who now live in the Tri-Valley area and attend the temple. The parents, who live with their children for months on end, can't afford traditional medical care while in the United States. 'Usually they don't have medical insurance, but have small problems and want to see the doctor,' said Laxshmi Achar, the temple's health center coordinator. Since the clinic was established in September 2003, the number of people who stop by every other Saturday for basic health screenings has steadily increased. Narra, along with doctors Lakshmi Palagummi, Jijibhoy Patel, Lalitha Vakkalanka and others, make basic diagnostics by checking blood pressure and heart rate and by checking a patient's ear, nose and throat. All volunteers are state-licensed physicians volunteering their personal time, Achar said. Serving the temple devotees and the community at large is considered a core function of the temple, also known as the Hindu Community and Cultural Center. The cultural center operates under the motto 'Serving God By Serving Humanity.' The center's Human Services Committee organizes several programs reaching out to the community, ranging from collecting clothes for the needy, gathering toys for children in India and the United States, organizing events at local senior centers, providing health classes and fundraising for local events and needs, such as community bus shelters. The temple in Livermore is a large, carved stone building surrounded by tract houses in the Springtown area north of Interstate 580. It is the largest Hindu temple in the Bay Area and welcomes devotees from most of the East Bay. The next nearest temple is in Fremont."