5K Walk-a-Thon: Houston Walks, Houston Cares!

IACF Directors & volunteers

IACF Directors & volunteers. Photos: Roy Photography

By Vanshika Vipin Varma

SUGAR LAND: Over the last three decades, Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) has appealed to the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston. Addressing the needs in areas of education, family, general needy and healthcare in the metro Houston area, IACF has been staying true to their motto, “We live here, We give here”. As a part of their mission to foster the local community, IACF opened up its fundraising activities for the year with their signature event Walk-a-Thon: “I Walk- I Care”, on Saturday, April 7, at the Lost Creek Park in Sugar Land.

The objective to organize this 5K Walk-a-Thon, in association with Indian Doctors Association (IDA) and Indian Doctors’ Club Charity Clinic (IDCC), was to raise health awareness and funds to support the IDCC, and also to benefit numerous other charities that are commonly supported by IACF. IDCC provides free medical services to the uninsured and underprivileged communities in Houston, located at 6550 Maple Ridge, Suite 229, the clinic is open to public on every Saturday (except major holidays). A noteworthy point is that this clinic is operated entirely by volunteering doctors and medical professionals, though the monetary support is well received from IDA and donors like the IACF.

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Ribbon cutting ceremony

During hurricane Harvey, IACF members volunteered at various centers and raised sizeable funds at its annual gala, aiding them to make a donation of $200,000 for the Houston Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Their events are really something to look forward to and this year, despite overnight rain showers and chilling weather, approximately 150 enthusiastic walkers and families showed up at 7:30 in the morning, committed and excited about participating in the free for all event. The day began with registration and breakfast, and the walkers had a chance to meet with IDCC team who offered free hypertension and diabetes screening prior to the event start. Health professionals and technicians remarkably managed the medical booth.

Mouth-watering refreshments were served, courtesy Vishala Restaurant and Deep Foods. Soon-after Mahesh Wadhwa, President of IACF welcomed everyone. While thanking the walkers and the heads of the partnering organization, he spoke about the event and IACF. He made a special mention of thanks for Dr. Prasun Jalal, IDA President and IDCC officers Dr. Kiran Gandhi, KC Mehta and Drs. Sunita and Suresh Moonat, and recognized the sponsors, specifically Fuel Maxx for their long-standing support. Nanda Vura, IACF, Past President and his dedicated team of IACF Directors and volunteers led the event.

Indian Senior Citizens Association (ISCA) Trustees, Raman Parekh, and Praful Gandhi participated in the event as a display of their support. Some of the Sugar Land and Fort Bend candidates running for offices; Farha Ahmed, Juli Mathew and Toni Wallace also attended. The emcee of this highly anticipated event was Shobana Muratee, President-Elect, IACF, who also spoke about the mission and vision of the organization.

Health screening by the IDCC team.

Health screening by the IDCC team.

Finally, it was time for the Walk-a-Thon to kick off and a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated it. The Presidents of the IACF, IDCC and IDA and the board members and participants did this honor. Complementing the team on the success of this event, Dr. Prasun Jalal, IDA President said, “It was a successful event, that was well organized. The team and the volunteers did a great job, I enjoyed walking and was happy to see the event-raised funds, which was for a good cause and achieved it goals. I encourage more people to join the next Walk-a-Thon”. The event helped collect $15,000, most of which will be donated to the charity clinic.

IACF will hold its annual gala on October 6, 2018. To learn more about IACF and to become a volunteer, visit www.iacfhouston.com.