“Devotees Helping Devotees–and Others Too” continues its series with the story of Rick Carlton. Rick attends the Hollywood Temple and has been an SRF devotee since 1996. He is also the Founder and Managing Director of a nonprofit organization that has been distributing Vitamin A and micronutrients to children in India who are at risk of going blind due to Vitamin A deficiency since 2011–reaching 2.2 million children in 2019 alone. The organization, SevaChild International (no affiliation with Yogananda Seva), added a multi-nutrient program for pregnant women facing anemia in 2019 and reached 80,000 pregnant women throughout India in their first year.
But in the wake of the global pandemic, when large assemblies of people could not gather in India, Rick quickly changed direction to distribute food rations to migrant workers and people in marginalized communities as well as to distribute masks to medical workers and first responders. He has also translated a flyer into 4 native languages with instructions on how to make protective masks out of items that are common, even in areas where thousands of people may be living together in tents.
About his work, Rick says: “It’s been a huge blessing to have this opportunity to serve the impoverished women and children of Master’s homeland. The poverty in India is worse than one would imagine. But the determination to serve God in others is so powerful it overrides the temptation to feel overwhelmed. The result of that kind of commitment can be remarkable.”
In describing how he got started, Rick says:
“I had no formal experience in running a humanitarian organization, and I found out doing so costs money–of which I had little. So I turned to Master and made a simple request: “Please let me know if this is what I am supposed to be doing, Master. If I am supposed to do this, please provide me with the people, money, and whatever resources I will need, and I will do my part to make it happen.” Master’s responses came in no uncertain terms, and they continue with His many blessings and guidance to this day. The experience of spontaneous meetings with remarkable people, and access to resources at just the right time, have seemed miraculous. I can’t help but know it is Divine Mother and Master directing activities behind the scenes…”
“These last 10 years have taught me how omnipresent Guru truly is. And how, by following the revelation of my soul’s yearning and by relying on Master’s blessings and guidance, miracles can — and do — happen. It appears that the Universe is looking to push itself out through channels that align with its purpose. And that purpose appears to be love.”