Saroj Pathak

Los Altos Kiwanis Club president Saroj Pathak dons a face mask and shield during her recent visit to India. 

The Los Altos Kiwanis Club recently completed a two-week fundraising drive that generated $75,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.

Club president Saroj Pathak witnessed firsthand the unfolding tragedy in India while visiting her sister in April.

“I flew out of India just before the travel ban took effect and knew things were really serious,” Pathak said. “I felt helpless leaving, but so grateful now.”

Launching an emergency fundraising campaign while in the midst of final preparations for the annual Kiwanis Pet Parade in May, club members reached out to friends, family and other local Kiwanis Clubs to spread the word. Pathak gave presentations about oxygen concentrators she had secured, and the hospital in India they were destined for, and a swell of support quickly emerged.

“We were amazed how fast funds started coming in,” she said. “I was worried my family and I would have to cover much of the costs to keep our arrangement, but the community responded so beautifully. It has been truly a blessing.”

More than 80 people contributed to the campaign, most donating $750 each, which covered the cost of one oxygen concentrator. Pathak made special shipping arrangements with the assistance of her son, who works for Google Health, and the oxygen concentrators are due at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College in India this week. Impetus Technologies and Dr. Deepak Bansal will manage distribution and transportation within India.

The club continues to collect donations in the hopes of making an additional shipment of personal protective equipment.

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