Last week Usha Sundaram received a phone call from her parents, a mere 25 miles from the Indian coastline.
"They said that the waves came so high up and just literally washed people away in front of someone's eyes, people in tall buildings seeing things happening. It's so devastating; it’s hard to comprehend what happened," Sundaram said.
Sundaram and hundreds of area India natives are still coming to grips with the largest earthquake in a generation. Wasting little time, the IAGR on Thursday set up a relief fund to collectively help revamp affected areas with food, medicine and supplies.
"There's so much poverty and it’s so dense. Lots, lots of people in tiny little places, they don't have the resources. They're not prepared for disasters," IAGR President Puja Mediratta said.
With the community's help, each dollar donated will directly assist tsunami victims through the Ramakrishna mission, a non-profit organization.
"Every penny we give really counts in a big picture. Whatever we contribute from Rockford would make a big difference," Sundaram said.
With an estimated $3,000 already donated, the local relief aid is there to help the world in the weeks and months ahead.
"They need the help and it's just how we can help them from here, and we are trying to do our best by sending funds and going to a good cause and it will be a good cause. We know that," Mediratta said.
The India Association of Greater Rockford and other organizations are working on a prayer vigil on Wednesday night for those affected by the tsunami.
Donations are accepted at Members Alliance Credit Union in Rockford. The checks can be made payable to the IAGR Tsunami Relief Fund. All donations are tax deductible.