MAF Sun furled yet another ornate Annual Gala event

Governor of Illinois-J. B. Pritzker's Video Message Congratulating MAFS
Governor of Illinois-J. B. Pritzker’s Video Message Congratulating MAFS

Ramesh Soparawala

CHICAGO: MAFS kicked off a star studded and safe in-person event after a year and a half of combating COVID-19On October 17, 2021; it was a colossal success. The  Illinois  Governor proclaimed this day as “MAFS DAY”.

The show commenced with the Lamp Lighting ceremony by the MAFS Board Members, President Dr. Firdaus Jafri, Vice-President  NikunjBaxi, Secretary Dr. Rakesh Asthana, Treasurer Sagar Kumar, Board members James D’Mello, Dr. Sonal Patel, Vasanti Bhatt, Monali Desai and the Founder/Executive Director, Dr. Mrs Santosh Kumar. Neil Khot and Richa Chand were the emcees who  kept the show exciting while  Dr. VijnayPrabhakar did an excellent job outlining the show as the chair of the Gala.

This was followed by the Governor of Illinois, J. B. Pritzker’s speech where he appreciated MAFS’s commendable work to serve and empower the seniors and immigrant communities for 29 years. Next was an elegant dance performance, Ganesh Vandana by renowned dancer Madhura Sane who filled the stage with her graceful and pious dancing praising Lord Ganesh. Her beautiful and eloquent dance moves were a treat to watch. We felt as though Lord Ganapathy had graced the occasion.

Recipients of the Mahatma Gandhi Medallion and MAFS Colors
Recipients of the Mahatma Gandhi Medallion and MAFS Colors

Dr. Firduas Jafri, President of MAFS addressed the audience welcoming all and asked the people to donate generously to support MAFS to sustain its programs to help the community. This was followed by  Grants Manager, Roshita Pandey’s speech on MAFS in action 2020 – 2021 She amplified that in order to continue its programs which is much needed by  seniors depending on gracious donors to cover the expenses that the grants do not cover.

Dancers from the TaranaDance Academy and the Saloni group were well coordinated with precise choreography, which helped them receive a loud roar of applause from the audience. Their choice of costume was so apt.

Next was the annual report/ Financial Review given by Sagar Kumar/ CFO, MAFS. He put together a clear vision of the report. He said that this year was the best year for MAFS financially and gave credit to our Grants Manager Roshita Pandey for her efforts to bring in Grants for MAFS.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly was called on stage to talk as Keynote speaker. In her speech she praised MAFS for its life changing programs and connecting with seniors of the community to keep them safe and well. She said lot of her work is related to what MAFS does. She praised Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar for her hard work and dedication to serve the community. She is grateful for the work MAFS does to serve the undeserved population to lead a better life through the vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, social security, snap and many more. She continued to praise MAFS for serving more than 10,000 people and said that it was “Remarkable”.

Saloni Dance Group 2
Saloni Dance Group

She applauded Dr. Santosh Kumar for keeping her doors open with the programs for the people who may not find these vital programs elsewhere. She compelled MAFS to continue its programs especially programs like the adult literacy program, Translation and interpretation program, immigration program. She thanked MAFS for being a liaison to Washington in serving the community with all its vital programs.

Next the Naperville staff showcased a colorful garba dance. Kudos to all our Naperville participants for doing such a great job and showing off their hidden talents.  Following this entertaining dance, Congressman Rajakrishnamoorthi spoke and praised Dr. Santosh Kumar for her outstanding work to the community. He urged people to donate for the good cause and dedication of MAFS. He mentioned that Dr. Kumar is so aptly named “Mother Theresa of Chicago”, a title well deserved.

He wished everyone Happy Dasahara and a Happy Diwali which marks the triumph of good over evil and knowledge prevailing over ignorance.  He said that what MAFS does really works for the community since they served more than 32,000 meals this year and more than 10,000 underprivileged people were served. He added when an immigrant senior comes to the US, they are lonely and the only place they can turn too is MAFS

Next was a heartwarming narration by MAFS Participants Tripta Malhotra and Jayesh Desai, who very warmly narrated the impact MAFS played to better their lives. They specially thanked Dr. Santosh Kumar for assisting the seniors through her various centers. They consider MAFS centers as their second home. They said how much the programs like Yoga, Adult literacy programs, fresh and healthy meals program, congregating with other seniors and many more, have played an important and positive role to eliminate isolation and other problems the seniors combat especially during the Pandemic.

The Mahatma Gandhi Sesquicentennial medallion and MAFS colors were presented my Honorable Mr. Amit Kumar and MrsSurabhi Amit Kumar along with Dr. Santosh Kumar. MilanaCarse did a great job by announcing and introducing the recipients of the medallion.

Shiv Thandav by Tarana Dance Academy
Shiv Thandav by Tarana Dance Academy

Congratulations to state Rep. Michelle MUSSMAN, Sunil Shah – FIA Chicago Founder, Dr Sreenivas Reddy, Bur Ridge, State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, State Rep. Christina Castro, Dr. Amit Ray, Neurologist, State Rep. Laura Murphy, Neil Khot-Rely Services, IL,  Bishop Tavis Grant – Rainbow Push Coalition, Inc, Mayor of Hanover Park – Rodney Craig, Amar Uphadyay – Community Activist, Acharya Rohit Joshi, Treasurer of Chicago – Melissa Ervin, ShridarDamle – Author, Marta Pereyra- Clese.

The Indian  Consul General  Amit Kumar In his speech congratulated MAFS and all the recipients. He praised Dr. Santosh Kumar for her commendable social service to the community like promoting mental health program and other beneficial public benefits programs. He also spoke about India’s progress regarding COVID vaccinations and other issues in India. Thank you, Honorable Consul General, for being a well-wisher and supporter of MAFS!

The highlight of the show was with the video of the new MAFS 15th Senior Center on Devon Ave. presented by IT Director Prashant Kumar and CFO  Sagar Kumar. In this video narrated the evolution of the state of the art, 20,000 sq. ft center for seniors.. The center is supposed to be up and rolling early November just in time for Diwali. Mrs Surabhi Kumar (w/o Consul General of India) unveiled the MAFS souvenir book. The first recipient of this souvenir book wasMrs. Meghna Bansal, Trustee, Wheatland, Township.


Mrs. Bansal congratulated MAFS for serving her mother-in-law who is a participant of MAFS. Dr. Asthana and Sagar Kumar were the other recipients of the souvenir. In her speech Mrs. Surabhi Kumar congratulated Dr. Santosh Kumar for her dedication and personal commitment to serve the seniors. She mentioned that she was touched when she witnessed the seniors of the MAFS sing the “Jana Gana Mana” with utmost reverence on the 75th Independence Day celebration of India. She concluded her speech assuring her support for MAFS and its future endeavors.

Following this, Dr. Firdaus Jafri, Consul General M Amit Kumar, Dr. Santosh Kumar and Mrs. Sonal Patel presented the Pramod Kumar Philanthropy award to. Sunil Singh – a community leader for the Washington D. C. area. The Community Service Award was presented to Ms. Gunjan Rastogi, an entrepreneur and community leader. The Partnership Award was presented to Ms. Elizabeth Cagan–Executive Director of the White Crane Wellness Center. Pillar of MAFS award was presented to Jahnavi Bavisi. Coordinator of the Year was presented to Eugenie Favre. Health Research award was presented to Himali Bharucha. The outreach award was presented to Radhika Subramanian. Volunteer of the Year was presented to Girish Machhar. Cook of the year was presented to Jayshree Thakkar. Mr. Mahajan has presented the award too.

Concluding the program, Dr.Mrs. Santosh Kumar thanked one and all for their support to MAFS. The show ended with melodious entertainment by Pavithra Anand and Parth Patel. Their songs were so captivating that the whole staff danced to make this event a big success