SPIRIT OF THE SEASON: Seva, started in April, aids those in need year-round
In the last week, members of the service group Seva: Selfless Service have collected jackets and coats for the needy in Sacramento and given out food donations in Yuba City.
But even when the holidays end, members of the group have no plans to leave off with their efforts in 2013; if anything, they hope to expand them.
"The word's been spreading," said Jaskarn Singh Johal, 25, of Yuba City. "From where we started, I feel like it's huge now.
"But this is year-round. People don't just need sweaters in December."
Seva, which formed in April, came from a group of young men in the Yuba-Sutter area who realized they wanted to give back rather than spend every weekend looking for a good time.
Though many of the founders, like Johal, are Sikhs, he said the selling point for new volunteers is simple: No religious affiliation, no political ties, just helping out your community when you can.
So far, the group's service projects have involved collecting clothes for the needy in San Francisco, Sacramento and in Yuba-Sutter, and organizing food drives, which began with making peanut butter sandwiches.
Though a donation event last week in Yuba City only drew 10 recipients, Johal said, he believes there is room to grow in both who helps and who they help.
"Anybody who joins us is in the same boat," Johal said, adding Seva now has about 50 regular volunteers and about 200 who've become affiliated through the group's Facebook page.
"They've been told about the importance of giving back, but they never had an outlet," he said.