By Tricia Mifsud

MITCHELL Multicultural Association Incorporated, MMCAI, is celebrating the Hindu festival Diwali this year by encouraging the community to take part in a ‘pay-it-forward’ movement.

Diwali, which translates to ‘row of lights’, is one of the largest Hindu celebrations. MMCAI is celebrating by connecting people to the shire’s businesses and food, while igniting a light of compassion by helping others.

Community members are asked to purchase a meal to the value of $20 at participating restaurants in Wallan and Seymour this week, and in return those who purchase a meal will receive a lamp to thank them for the contribution.

Participating venues include Café Vento, Wallan Food and Spices, Wallan Fish n’ Chips, Smoking Joes, and both Baba’s Kitchen and Kebab House in Seymour.

Meals will be delivered to families between 4 to 6pm this Saturday by MMCAI members with support from Love In Action in Wallan and Broadford.

MMCAI chair Nikki Simos said it had been a challenge to organise an in-person celebration for the Hindu festival because of COVID-19 restrictions, and hoped for a successful pay-it-forward movement.

“COVID-19 has made it challenging for people to congregate and celebrate the Diwali festival in large numbers. Therefore, to bring some light of celebration into people’s homes, MMCAI members thought it to be a safe way to celebrate, offer a gift to people in our community, bring a sense of understanding of what Diwali festival is all about and also offer a meal to a family in need,” she said.

“We see this as a win-win opportunity as we support local business and vulnerable members in our community, as well as celebrating Diwali festival and being culturally inclusive with all community members participation and being part of the gift of light.”

Ms Simos and the MMCAI committee extended their gratitude to the businesses and organisations already involved in this week’s event.

“MMCAI would like to thank all the local businesses who jumped on board with this initiative so far and we thank Love In Action in Broadford and Wallan for their continuing efforts in supporting members of our community,” she said.

People wanting to be involved in future MMCAI initiatives can email mitchell.mca.inc@gmail.com.