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Indian lunch for Forsyth County Sheriffs on India’s Republic Day

March 2023
Indian lunch for Forsyth County Sheriffs on India’s Republic Day

Sprinkling Smiles, the nonprofit that helps frontline workers, sprinkled plenty of smiles across the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office on January 27 serving up officials with Indian lunch in celebration of India’s 74th Republic Day. The luncheon was served at the Forsyth County Sherriff HQ in Cumming.

Sprinkling Smiles, a nonprofit that helps frontline workers, served Indian lunch to Forsyth County Sheriff HQ on Indian Republic Day.

“Police and citizens don’t always get along in every community. But this community is a partnership. You want your kids to do well at school. We want your kids to do well in school. We want your kids to be safe. We want you to be safe and you want to help us achieve that for you. And so it is truly a community partnership. Your [Indian-American] community has become such an integral part of who we are,” Ron H. Freeman, Sheriff, Forsyth County said.

Highlighting the significance of the gesture, Sheriff Freeman said that it is “proof that the [Indian-American] community is integrating with the broader Forsyth County community” and that’s what makes the county and the department strong. “There are so many things that we are aligned with 95 percent [of the time]. The five percent cultural differences are the really cool differences between us. That’s where we get to learn about each other and get to experience the differences in culture that might be there. But what we want for our kids, what we want for our families, what we want for our lives are nearly identical,” he noted.

Sprinkling Smile was founded by couple Swati and Sudhir Aggarwal in 2020 with the purpose of helping frontline workers and the police during the lockdown. The initiative was aimed at providing food to the frontline workers, reaching out to the senior citizens who could not go out to buy groceries, and extending service to daily wage workers.

Their recent effort was to reach out to frontline workers in Georgia and the luncheon kickstarted the initiative. “We celebrated the 74th Indian Republic Day with the sheriffs’ of Forsyth County in Georgia where we took an opportunity, along with over 20 volunteers, to thank them for all the great work that they do. They are the reason our community is safe and our kids go to school and come back with a smile on their faces. Over 60 sheriffs were present for the lunch on January 27,” Aggarwal said.

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While some of the officers tasted Indian food for the first time, others already knew their favorites. Chicken Tikka Masala and Samosa turned out to be the Sheriffs’ favorite Indian dishes.

“When the 911 call comes in, you don’t ask us who you are, which country we come from, if we are male or female. You are just there.” Bob Erramilli, City Council, Johns Creek said.

Now home to over 45,000 South Asians- largely made up of immigrants from India, Forsyth County houses the largest percentage of Asians of any county in Georgia.

Addressing the needs of its burgeoning diverse population, Sheriff Freeman and the county have set up a Citizens Advisory Board which, he explained, acts as “a conduit between the department and the community.” Recognizing that certain members of diverse communities may not be open to directly approaching the police about issues of concern, he said it makes it easier for citizens to speak to someone from their own communities to discuss the matter. He noted that it works both ways—the members on the board relay any information to their communities or bring it to the county’s notice, if deemed fit. Praveen Puram, a member of the Citizens Advisory Board, added that quarterly meetings and outreach programs such as these build stronger bonds and play an important role in keeping communications open.

Aggarwal thanked sponsors Spicy Desi Food Truck, Atlanta Desi Events, Manage My Taxes, and volunteers who supported the cause.

—By Jyothsna Hegde


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