What motivates you to give back to your community?
We arrived on the shores of this country as immigrants almost 50 years ago and have been blessed with many opportunities. In turn we would like to help others, especially those who, because of circumstances often beyond their control, have been unable to take advantage of life’s offerings.
What inspired you to get involved with Thrive DC?
After retirement in 2011, Lakshmi began volunteering for a food pantry in Columbus, Ohio and found it fulfilling to serve clients who were hit hard by the financial crisis. Later, she was intimately involved as a volunteer with an organization in Ohio working with domestic violence victims. After moving to DC, Lakshmi looked for similar opportunities and started volunteering at Thrive DC. She is having a wonderful time working with other volunteers and staff every week. She’s also discovered that Thrive DC is much more than a food pantry. Thrive DC is acting as a gateway for folks to re-enter mainstream society, and giving its clients solace and a pathway for a better life.
What difference do you see Thrive DC making in the community?
Thrive DC is helping with hunger by providing healthy meals to anyone who walks through the door without any pre-judgements. Thrive DC is also helping people re-enter society as full participants by aiding them with job opportunities or vocational training. This reminds us of the maxim that “to teach a person to fish will help the person for a lifetime.”
How do you see Thrive DC as part of your legacy for your kids and grandkids?
The Dutta family has always been involved in volunteer activities, with both our children serving as Peace Corps volunteers. We want our children and grandchildren to continue to be empathetic, offer material/emotional support to those less fortunate, and hopefully aspire to create and live in a society where every person has the wherewithal to lead a fruitful life and achieve their dreams. In other words, we hope that our kids and grandkids imbibe the spirit of Thrive DC and what it does for the community.