Annual Fund Raising Dinner at The Hindu Temple of Northeast Wisconsin
The Hindu Temple of Northeast Wisconsin (HTNEW) located at 911 Delanglade Street, Kaukauna, WI hosted their annual fund raising dinner on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 6 pm. This event was held at Liberty Hall Banquet and Conference Center, 800 Eisenhower Dr., Kimberly, WI. The main attraction of this event was Bollywood Singer Poonam Bhatia. She presented “Bollywood Musical Evening” at this fund raising dinner program. The evening was attended by more than 300 guests. Close to $75,000 was raised.
This was the Second fund raising dinner the temple has organized. The purpose of this annual fund raising dinner was “Bhoori Virala Danam” meaning “Please Donate Generously”. Masters of Ceremony were Dr. Ravi Vir & Ms. Jayashree Murali. They did an excellent job by communicating with audiences during the entire program. The event was coordinated by HTNEW Committee Chairpersons members, Executive Committee (Officers), Board of Directors and Volunteers. They worked very hard to make this event a very memorable one for the guests.
The following dignitaries, City of Kaukauna Mayor – Gene Rosin and his wife; Alderman – Tom McGinnes, his wife Mary; From Appleton- Attorney Bruce Chudacoff and his wife Nancy graced this event.
Goals and Immediate attention: Praying Hall Space Optimization, Play area for Children, Parking Lot Improvement, Landscaping on Temple Premises were some of the goals. Monthly expenses that cover mortgage payments, utilities and housekeeping, and the need to upgrade the temple Kitchen, estimated at ($50,000) and Landscaping at ($30,000).
The event started with the social hour at 6:00 PM where the guests, unwinding after a hard day’s work with tasty hors d’oeuvres while enjoying the company of their friends followed by the main program at 6:30 PM. The program began with “Namaskar, Good evening and Shubh Swaagatam” by Dr. Ravi Vir, followed by a Welcome Speech by Rakesh Kaushika, President HTNEW. Rakesh briefed the audience about the temple activities, praised the Volunteers who had worked so tirelessly for the last four years to accomplish the goal of building the temple in Northeast Wisconsin. He stated that the temple has seen phenomenal growth in the number of devotees (250-300) attending their events. He mentioned that “Our mission is to continue to teach and reinforce spiritual and cultural values; spread the knowledge of Vedanta and Hindu scriptures; to conduct spiritual and cultural programs that benefit the young and old of the community”. He urged community members to continue their support and devotion towards the growth of the temple and participate through “Seva” and serve the Almighty.
Following his remarks, Dr. Punit Kumar, Chairman – Fundraising, HTNEW, addressed the gathering. Dr. Punit Kumar addressed important topics in his speech and thanked key people who helped organize this event.
- He reminded that the goal for the evening was raising $300,000. He said – “By God’s grace and generosity of the community we will achieve this tonight. Having our own temple is a dream come true for all of us who are here tonight. There are many people who have cherished this dream for 40 years. Such large events cannot be organized by one or two people. It takes the whole community. I would not be able to name them all tonight because the list is very large. I will name a few key people who have helped us organize this event.”
- “First of all I would like to mention people who are not here, they are toiling at the temple providing free baby-sitting services, I thank Priya Kaushika, Radhika and Kartik Ravel.
- Decoration committee: Sonu Pareek, Richa Mehrotra, Meena Vir, Shubh Arora, Praveena Mislankar.
- Food Committee: Nila Vaishnav and Shakti Shukla
- Publication: Rakesh Kaushika, Mohan Karapundi, Rajan Subramaniam, Shiva Arava, Krishnan
- Tickets-Sales: Deapak Dogra, Rajan Chopra, Champak Pancholi, Hetal Patel, Swapna Patel, Kanan Kumrah, Dinesh Bhat, Ravi Vir, Rajesh Dhirar
- Entertainment: Sujal Baherawala, Shreekant Shah, Yogesh Pareek
- Accounting: Anjan Reddy, Datta Mislankar, Sampath Bandi, Champak Pancholi, Damodar Shankar
- Teenage Volunteer: Tanvi and Vidushi
- Masters of Ceremony: Ravi Vir and Jayashree Murali
Next, was the Invocation of the gods by reciting the Shlokas by the temple priest – Pandit Dinesh Bhat. Thereafter Dr. Ravi Vir and Jayashree Murali, MCs introduced Poonam Bhatia – the very talented bollywood singer, to present the Musical Program – ‘Bollywood Musical Evening’. It was an evening of Music by Poonam Bhatia who enthralled the audience with her charming personality and melodious voice.
Mr. Anil Arora, Secretary, BOD took the opportunity in between the event and briefed about the status and future plans for HTNEW. Mr Anil Arora had this to say – “It is a delightful experience to see and feel that we now have a Hindu Temple in the Fox Valley area – a long standing desire of many devotees living in the Northeast part of Wisconsin. It is through the energy of good will, the spirit of giving, volunteerism, and above all, through the Divine grace, a Temple has come into existence in this area. Together, we have been able to accomplish this goal. We drew much strength from our diversity and worked closely with one agenda. Indeed, selfless service can lead one to complete fulfillment. Agamas state that, the Temple is God Himself. Ancients envisioned that the Temple is not just an inanimate structure, but a vibrant and full of life, Body. People visit Temples to have the vision of the Almighty. In the Temple, the devotees share the energy of good will and communion with God. We all recognize that the Temple in its current state is just a beginning, we have a long way to go and many more things to accomplish”.
He also mentioned the need to improve the Temple infrastructure and provide for maintenance, expand, to accommodate growing numbers of devotees during major events; hire a full time priest, Idol installation, provide spiritual and cultural offerings, and in future build a Temple – the kind, we envisioned. “It is possible to accomplish all these, with people rising to the occasion and making a real difference”
Next, Anjan Reddy, (Treasurer) for The Spirit of Giving addressed the audience with the following – God has decided to make our neighborhood as an abode and it is our duty to keep up the momentum and make the temple building more usable. Even though we are just five months old, the temple has gained a lot of attention in the community. We have been having full house for every major event being conducted during the weekends. These events give a great feeling of being part of the celebration and simulating an atmosphere for devotion and exchange of thoughts. The enthusiasm to be at the temple by the Hindu community members is overwhelming, though the temple is open during weekends only. Community members are giving up other activities and trying their best to spend their time at the temple. There are numerous activities being proposed but the board is unable to accommodate all due to the unavailability of the temple on other days. Following are the activities, to mention a few: Hindi Classes, Yoga, Dance Classes, Hinduism for Children, recitation of ishnusahasranam and other chants, Children Skits on Hindu Culture and Religion. Executive and the temple board has unanimously agreed to raise funds to address short term goals and also simultaneously work on long term goals. Our humble effort is to create more awareness of the need to renovate the temple premises and raise funds.
Dr. Ram Turlapati, Chairman of the Board, in his message said, “We are very fortunate to have our own Temple in the Fox Valley. This was accomplished with sincere and dedicated hard work and by the grace and blessings of Almighty God. We are all very happy to celebrate all festivals with a good turnout of more than two hundred devotees for each event”. He talked about the costs to accomplish various developments and reiterated the need for funds for the growth and continued upkeep of the temple facility. He requested the gathering to pledge to donate generously to accomplish their goals.
Thereafter, a sumptuous dinner was served and enjoyed by all. Vote of Thanks was presented by Mr. Chandrakant Patel, as the guests enjoyed the sumptuous dinner served in banquet style. Delicious vegetarian food was prepared by the chefs of Liberty Hall and India Durbar.
The Hindu Temple of Northeast, Leadership Team sincerely thanks Attorney Bruce Chudacoff for his services rendered in HTNEW Organization and By-Laws. Bruce has been very active helping a variety of charitable organizations during the last 40 years, Tile HTNEW Leadership team appreciates his friendship and support for our Temple Project.
“We achieved our goal of raising $74965 for the event and the money will be used for various projects. It was one of the highly successful event for the Temple and may God bless more like this so the Temple can be a example for better future for all” said Dr. Punit Kumar, Chairman Fundraising, HTNEW to Asian Media USA Chairman Suresh Bodiwala.
Bollywood singer Poonam Bhatia took over the stage to enthrall the audience non-stop for more than three hours. She warmly interacted with the audience before starting off the rendition of the melodious Bhajan Satyam Shivam Sundaram in her mellifluous voice. Suddenly a divine atmosphere descended upon the hall! after that, it was time to entertain the guests with some evergreen melodies of Bollywood. She seemed to be a little partial to her dear friend and guru Asha Bhosle, since most of her song selection included the evergreen hits of Ashaji. Upon the request from the audience to sing some faster, new songs, Poonam took off by singing “Ye Ishq Hai” from the movie “Jab We Met”. All the ladies from the audience got up to dance on the make shift dance floor! After that there was no stopping the charismatic performer! It was a two hour, non-stop, high energy performance! She sang almost all the latest Bollywood chart busters like “Sheela Ki Jawani”, “Munni Badnaam Hui”, “Chikni Chameli”, “Jalebi Bai”, etc. Almost half of the audience was on the dance floor! On public request she even sang some Punjabi numbers. Suresh Bodiwala Chairman from Asian Media USA was surprised to see her transform from a white Sari wearing, Bhajan singing woman, to a rock star! Dancing with all the guests, who just didn’t want the evening to get over. They only stopped when the banquet people came to dismantle the stage! The charm and magic of Poonam Bhatia’s performance will stay in the minds and hearts of all the guests present there!
About Poonam Bhatia:
Poonam Bhatia was born in a small town in Haryana on 19th day of August Poonam Bhatia was raised and educated in Delhi. She has an army background. Poonam is a science graduate from Bombay University. She has done playback for actors like Ravina Tandon, Shilpa Shetty, Twinkle Khanna, Juhi Chawla, Mayuri Cango, Suman Ranganathan, Aishwarya Rai etc. She has worked with Bollywood music directors like A R Rahman, Viju Shah Nadeem Shravan, Anu Mallik Anand Raj Anand etc. Poonam has performed on stage with singers like Asha Bhosle, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Vinod Rathod, Shabbir Kumar, Mohd Aziz, Sudesh Bhosle, Arvinder Singh etc.
She has done stage shows with Bollywood stars like Shahrukh Khan, Govinda, Chunky Pandey, Karishma Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Sajid Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Kajol, Manisha Koirala, Javed Jafery etc. Poonam as regaled her admirers in cities like New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Boston, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Jo’berg, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, Malaysia, Bali, Cambodia, Rangoon, Kathmandu, Dubai, Nairobi, etc. From Noorjahaan to Shreya, and from Bhajans to cabarets, Poonam Bhatia performs in all genre with Immense ease. Poonam Bhatia can sing in Hindi, Punjabi, Gujrati, Marathi, Marwari. she doesn’t have a restrictive style of singing. she renders Bhajans, light Ghazals, Qawallis, item songs, romantic songs with surprising ease. She whole heartedly gives her services to a lot of non profit charity institutions in the United States.
Board of Directors
Dr. Ram Turlapati (Chairman), Mr. Rashmi Patel (Vice Chairman), Mr. Anil Arora (Secretary), Dr. Anjan Reddy, Dr. Swapna Patel, Dr. Punit Kumar, Dr. Kamaljit Paul, Dr. Ravinder Vir, Mr. Dinesh Bhat, Mr. Damodhar Shankar, Mrs. Kannan Kumrah, Mr. Chandrakant Patel and Dr. Umang Gautam
Executive Committee (Officers):
Rakesh Kaushika (President), Nila Vaishnav (Vice President), Champak Pancholi (General Secretary) Anjan Reddy (Treasurer)
Datta Mislankar, Shiva Arava, Lakshmi Tatikonda, Yogesh Maheshwari, Rajan Chopra, Krishnan Iyer, Meena Vir Praveena Mislankar, Dr. Dilip Tannan, Sujal Baherawala, Mohan Karapundi, Rajan Subramanian, Chandresh Patel Deapak Dogra, Shubh Arora, Gaurav Bansal, Viju Rao, Sampath Bandi, Rajesh Dhirar and Shakti Shukla
The following are some of the upcoming events and sponsors at the temple:
- July 8 – Guru Purnima, sponsored by Ram & Manju
- August 12 – Krishna Janamashtami, sponsored by Rashmi & Saroj Patel
- September 30 – Ganesh Chaturthi, sponsored by India Darbar
- October 28 – Vijayadashami, sponsored by Divya Ramachandran
- November 17 – Diwali, sponsored by Dr Umang & Hind Gautam
- December 2 – Kartik Purnima, sponsored by Chandrakant & Anjana Patel
Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA
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