What Touch-A-Life can do for the new wave of the pandemic in India

COVID-19 has had an incredibly strong impact on the lives of citizens around the world. In 2020 our way of life had changed from being able to see our friends, families, and coworkers regularly to staying at home daily and meeting on zoom.

As 2021 came around the news of the vaccine provided us with hope that the pandemic is coming to an end and that COVID-19 is behind us. In India however, the pandemic has not only continued to rage on but has grown to the point of putting society at a standstill. The news has shown cases of police vehicles guarding oxygen tanks and number of sick individuals going up by the thousands daily.

It’s projected that India’s GDP will contract by 8% due to the second wave of the pandemic. These effects disproportionately affect manual laborers and the poorer citizens of India whose jobs must have been completely halted by a shutdown or whose single income households may be devastated by the death of a breadwinner. The sheer medical expenses of treatment alone could force families into debt during this trying time.

The Touch-A-life foundations commitment has always been to help connect donors to donees so that people who have resources to give can make a difference in the lives of others. Through the TALGiving Platform we’ve enabled our donors to connect to donees in India and help them during their time of need. Our team has been working directly with the nonprofits on the ground in india to ensure that all funds directly go to supporting those who may be in need.

During the pandemic we’ve raised $5000 for V Care a nonprofit has begun its relief service by providing meal or packed grocery kits to the marginalized and low-income segment of the society who are affected by COVID. 10$ for a grocery kit feeds a family for 7 days.

We’ve also raised $1500 for the Anada Foundation which is helping bring oxygen cylinders for hospitals and homes to receive oxygen support without the hassle of refilling daily.

As a critical component of the global tech stack, India’s plight affects the global economy and its citizens. So many tech workers in the bay area have also had their family members affected by this new wave of COVID in India.

Please join us in helping some of the many nonprofits that are doing important work in India right now by donating through the TALGiving App both in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. By coming together and even providing 10$ a month we can go a long way towards helping India recover from its current crisis.

How COVID Has Brought People Closer: An Exploration in Kindness and Humanity

The COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be a great menace affecting everyone’s day-to-day life. As many would say, it is the current major stressor in the world. But well, despite its negative effects, it’s crucial to also focus on the positive gains.

It would be absurd to fail to recognize that at some point, indeed, COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise. Copious acts of humanity and kindness are taking over amid this battle. It is a great reminder to show us that we can still come together and change this whole mood of fear, anger, and hopelessness despite everything.

People are trying to change the scare tale to a caring tale. I will walk you through some of the ways that prove acts of kindness and humanity will at all times conquer.

1. Appreciating Frontline Workers

The COVID-19 situation has spotlighted the forefront heroes in the fight against the pandemic. As observed across different countries globally, people are standing in solidarity with these individuals, especially the healthcare workers. Other supermen that continue to receive appreciation are supermarket staff, delivery personnel, the police, and warehouse persons.

Jointly, they have made sure that normal life operations continue, despite the need to stay at home. People have been standing at their doors and windows to cheer up and applaud these people to show oneness. The stars have also received different appreciation tokens from organizations and some individuals.

2. Giving Selflessly

It is at this time that people have faced the most challenging times and situations in the world. From people losing jobs, businesses failing and increased pay-cut instances. It has become even harder for some people to place a meal on the table. However, it’s hard to close our eyes to good gestures from selfless organizations and people.

People have continued to offer door-to-door aids such as food, sanitizers, and masks. Other kindness gesticulations observed are the giving of test kits, medical use protective kits, ventilators, among other medical equipment in hospitals. An example of such a selfless practice is from Jack Ma, the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group. He bestowed 1,000 medical use protective shields, 20,000 test kits, and 100,000 masks to all African countries.

3. Doing Away with Any Differences

Everyone has been fighting to do away with the disease regardless of whether they are on good terms or not. Individuals, countries, companies have made sure that differences do not deter them from pooling their resources together to bridge any snags brought about by the pandemic.

For instance, the EU sent 50 tons of protective gear to China, where the pandemic began. The same was observed when China sent equipment to Europe when the disease seemed to overpower them. The shipment supplies from China had a Chinese flag and the words, “the friendship road knows no borders.” An indication that people have come together to ensure humanity prevails in the fight against the coronavirus disease despite any prevailing differences.

Conclusion

Acts of heroism continue to prevail during this brutal COVID-19 pandemic. They are not only making people smile, but they are also bringing people together. This way, the world will not only triumph in beating this disease, but it will achieve the oneness brought about by people coming together. Together we can! Let’s continue coming together through extra kindness and humanity doings in the fight against this pandemic, and we will arise strong.

Touch-A-Life Foundation Partners With Besson Family Vineyards To Help Bay Area Farmers and Students Struggling From Wildfires and COVID-19

The boutique family-owned winery will sell $250 and $500 packages of premium estate wines. Twenty-five percent of all purchases will go to Touch-A-Life Foundation to support local farmers and students

One night over dinner, the Gundavelli and Besson families discussed how COVID-19 and now-annual California wildfires battered their beloved communities. The pandemic kept tourists away and smoke from the wildfires choked vines and tainted grapes, affecting wine supplies for years to come. The rippling effects have impacted everyone in wine country, most notably Bay Area farmers and their families. Feeling a deep sense of duty to their neighbors – which the families considered an extension of their own – both the Gundavellis and Bessons decided to join forces and help bring aid to those in need of housing, clothing, food, and other necessities.

“Both of our families originated outside the United States and experienced hardships and struggles similar to many local families in our community,” said Sai Gundavelli. “We know what it’s like to build something from nothing, to pour a generation’s worth of sweat and tears into a familial undertaking with the hope that it lasts forever. To lose all that virtually overnight from a fire or pandemic is beyond comprehension. That could easily be your family and mine. They need help, and those of us fortunate to do so – be it through money or volunteering – must heed the call.”

“The Besson family is deeply rooted in our community, serving both in the sectors of farming and education,” said Denise Besson. “It was a devastating year with the CA wildfires, pandemic, and economic downturn and closures of family-owned businesses. We too felt the impact and yet, working side by side with our local farmers and laborers, we experienced the plight of these hardships first hand and the importance of giving back to help those in need.”

With some of the oldest vineyards in Santa Clara County today, Besson Family Vineyards is the home to acres of chardonnay, grenache, mission, mourvedre, pinot noir, syrah, and zinfandel. These grapes have been used in many award-winning wines produced by such wineries as Birichino, I. Brand, David Bruce, Bonny Doon, Calera, Orin Swift, and Sarah’s Vineyard. For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, the boutique winery is bottling under the family name exclusive, direct-to-consumer red, and white premium wines.

To celebrate the new venture and help local communities devastated by the pandemic, the boutique winery will offer a premium box of hand-crafted estate wines in the donors’ choice red, white, or mixed varietals as follows:

Note: (Wines subject to change based on availability)

    1. $250: Besson Family Vineyards will gift you three bottles among these choices*:
      1. Reds
        1. 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon “Silver Lining”
        2. 2019 Estate Red Blend “Melange Rouge”
        3. 2019 Estate Pinot Noir
      2. Whites
        1. 2020 Sauvignon Blanc
        2. 2019 Picpoul Blanc
        3. 2020 Estate Chardonnay
      3. Mixed
        1. 2020 Estate Chardonnay
        2. 2019 Estate Red Blend “Melange Rouge”
        3. 2019 Estate Pinot Noir
    2. $500: Besson Family Vineyards will gift you six bottles among these choices*:
      1. Reds
        1. 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon “Silver Lining”
        2. 2019 Estate Syrah
        3. 2019 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel “The Centurion”
        4. 2019 Estate Red Blend “Melange Rouge”
        5. 2018 Malbec
        6. 2019 Estate Pinot Noir
      2. Whites
        1. 2020 Sauvignon Blanc
        2. 2019 Picpoul Blanc
        3. 2020 Estate Chardonnay
        4. 2020 Estate Stainless Steel Chardonnay
        5. Blanc de Trois California Sparkling Wine
        6. 2020 Estate Rose
      3. Mixed
        1. 2020 Estate Rose
        2. 2020 Estate Chardonnay
        3. 2019 Picpoul Blanc
        4. 2019 Estate Red Blend “Melange Rouge”
        5. 2019 Estate Pinot Noir
        6. 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon “Silver Lining”

The wines will arrive beautifully packaged in a premium gift box with a full-color insert about the history of the Besson family, background about Touch-A-Life Foundation, and ways to support the local community. Moreover, 25 percent of all proceeds will go directly to Touch-A-Life to support area farmers affected by the state’s wildfires and economically disadvantaged students in the Bay Area.

TALScouts: A way for students to virtually give back to their community

As schools continue to adopt distance learning, the future of in-person education is still unclear for many students around the country. At the Touch-A-Life Foundation, one of our key pillars is youth engagement in charity and philanthropy—providing students with the opportunity to give back to their local communities while learning important life and business skills.

 

Our new TALScout program is designed to give students internships—entirely virtual—so that they can continue to learn and help out their local community from a distance during these tough times. TALScouts offers two voluntary options to students looking to give back:

TALScout

Designed for high school and college students, TALScout is Touch-A-Life Foundation’s student internship program. TALScouts will volunteer to help build and promote the TALGiving app, learning many skills including UI experience, product design, teamwork, marketing, and leadership. Performed entirely in-home using a laptop or smartphone, the program allows students to earn credit and volunteer hours, and is flexible around students’ schedules.

 

It’s also a great mentoring and networking opportunity. Touch-A-Life works closely with many corporates and executives, and the TALScout program gives students access to these experts to teach them about various business aspects, and potentially set them up for internships at their companies.

TALScout Ambassador

As a TALScout Ambassador, students are tasked with promoting the TALScout program within their school to help recruit TALScouts. It’s a great opportunity to learn marketing skills which are used to help promote their school’s fundraisers and causes via the TALGiving platform. TALScout Ambassadors will build leadership skills and program development experience, with the potential to earn credits and build their resume. 

 

Virtually, TALScout Ambassadors will be encouraged to help spread the world about TALGiving, with the goal of onboarding other students, family, friends, and teachers, so that they can provide (or request) resources such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical assistance.

 

With students spending more time at home this summer, the TALScout program is a great way to keep kids busy and educated, but more importantly, building them to be a better person by helping out their community.

 

To learn more about the TALScout program and sign up, visit https://www.touchalife.org/talscout/

Money can’t solve everything: TALGiving Connects Needs with Good Deeds

Charities around the world have been flooded with donations over the past 6 months in light of the far-reaching COVID-19 crisis. But what happens when you are unable to buy the PPE you need for your volunteers due to widespread supply chain shortages, or if someone is in need of emotional or professional help that seems out-of-reach? The Touch-A-Life Foundation has decided to tackle this problem head-on, by providing organizations, professionals, and everyday people with a network of volunteers ready to help.

The TALGiving app allows charities or individuals to ask for what they need, and matches them with folks around the world, who can respond with a cash donation or tangible goods, services, and deeds – in a transparent way. Every donation is traced and tracked and published publicly – so you’re able to see exactly how your donation is making an impact for your community.

“Our sweet-spot is connecting the local communities together to help raise everyone up,” commented the CEO, and founder of TAL, Tej Gundavelli. “We believe that charity should start close to home because you get to see and experience the impact of your donation first-hand and raise the entire community up together.”

Anyone can share and search on the TAL web site to find vetted requests for volunteers, services, cash, or even goods and find local charities or individuals in their area. This transparent, direct connection is exactly what attracted Bollywood star, Sunitha, to become a TAL ambassador earlier this summer.

“With no middle man or administration—just donor and donee—TALGiving is easing the process of giving while providing full transparency,” said Sunitha. “I look forward to supporting Touch-A-Life’s cause.”

Another of TAL’s rising stars, Garret Jensen, has been heavily involved in the Type 1 Diabetes community after being diagnosed at 13, and now uses TALGiving for organizing teams for the annual JDRF One Walk and volunteering with organizations that serve families impacted by Type 1 Diabetes.

Dr. Aseem Shukla, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has helped nearly 200 children from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Turkmenistan, Iran and more, to receive life-changing surgery for absolutely no charge over the past 10-years, and now in collaboration with TAL hopes to reach hundreds of more children in need.

These are just a few of the amazing TAL members who use the platform as a way to raise awareness and provide a clear impact on a world dramatically changed forever. We’re all in this together, and with TAL, we can be there for each other in meaningful ways.

Announcing TALGiving: Launching to the public

Last year we introduced TALGiving, an app that helps facilities one-to-one connections between donors and recipients, at our TAL Annual Day 2019 fundraising event and banquet. We initially launched the app as a private beta to our local community, the San Jose Unified School District, and Santa Clara Unified School District. Today, I’m proud to announce that after several months of testing and feedback from our amazing community, we’re opening TALGiving up to the public.

What’s TALGiving?

It’s a new mobile app for Android and iOS devices (also supporting desktops) that connects donor with donee, to make the entire donation process simple and easy for both parties. Donors (individuals and corporates alike) can sign up, list the specific resources they’re willing to provide, and track donations to enable full transparency. For the recipient, all they have to do is sign up and fill out their profile, listing which resources they need, and they’ll automatically be matched with a donor when the resources become available. Best of all, there is a 0% fee for all parties involved—the only fees involved come directly from the banks to help facilitate credit card charges in the event of monetary donations. If those donations are made through a direct bank account transfer or check, there are no finance charges.

How does TALGiving work?

Under the hood, we’ve integrated several innovative technologies including blockchain and AI into TALGiving. Blockchain technology provides a decentralized, immutable ledger for all of the transactions conducted through the app, which enables full transparency for all parties to ensure that donations are going to the appropriate causes. Blockchain also makes the transaction data available on all of our apps, so that they can be used from anywhere around the world. We use AI (artificial intelligence) to help facilitate the matchmaking process between donor and donee, based on the profile information filled out by each party. With these two technologies, coupled with mobile and social media, we are hoping to revolutionize the entire donation process by making it 100% digital—no need for messy paperwork and record keeping.

Rather than just accepting monetary donations that platforms like GoFundMe are based on, TALGiving is built to facilitate all type of donations—whether it be clothing, food, medical, monetary, or shelter/housing assistance—making it easy for people in need to receive specific resources, and improving transparency for all involved.

We invite you to download and sign up for the TALGiving apps, to begin your journey of kindness and giving (or receiving), and help us improve the app as we continue to expand globally. Please visit https://www.touchalife.org/ to learn more.