Berland, Edwards Support BAPS Walkathon
Councilwomen help plant a tree as part of Hindu sect’s effort to help Nature Conservancy project
Melville, NY, Huntington Town Councilwomen Susan A. Berland and Tracey A. Edwards joined with other public officials June 4 in the opening ceremonies and official start of a walkathon organized by the BAPS Hindu temple to raise funds for a national tree planting campaign and to support two local organizations.
The event at the BAPS Mandir on Deshon Drive was one of 70 held nationwide by BAPS Charities, the charitable arm of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha Hindu sect, to benefit the Nature Conservancy by raising money to plant 100,000 trees at various locations. The effort here will also benefit two local organizations, the Town of Huntington Youth Bureau’s Project Excel and the Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights.
Councilwomen Berland and Edwards offered welcoming remarks to the approximately 400 walkers, each highlighting the effort that brought the BAPS to build the Mandir that opened last year and the sect’s commitment to helping the community. Each year, the BAPS tries to raise money to benefit local groups that have some sort of educational component. Also joining in the ceremony were Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, County Legis. Steve Stern, Assembs. Chad Lupinacci and Andrew Raia, a representative from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi.
After the welcoming remarks, the officials helped plant four trees on the property, and then cut the ribbon to mark the start of the walkathon, which nationwide is called Walk Green 2017.
The walkathon is one of many activities supported by BAPS Charities. Other North American activities include blood drives, bone marrow drives, career fairs, children’s health and safety days, disaster relief, Earth Day, flu vaccination drives, food drives, health awareness lectures and health fairs.