Everyone Loves Avi

Everyone Loves Avi

From Celeste Hamilton Dennis

Avi Gandhi has given so much to Levittown. Let's give him something back.

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Update #8

about 3 years ago

Avi’s going to have a new life. And we couldn’t be happier for him.

At the end of this month, he’ll be shutting down Center Lane Stationery. Wait a minute, you might be thinking. What about the cash mob? This Fundly campaign? The hope we’ve been writing about?

I wish I could say this story had a Hollywood ending. That the cash mob swayed his landlord to give him a better lease and saved his store. (Your generous donations will help him transition out, however, as he’ll be taking a big loss when he closes.)

We always knew there was a chance it would come to this, and we were shocked and sad as you at first. Until we realized that maybe after all, this story does have a good ending.

If you thought the Levittown community was already awesome, get this: Avi’s customers are trying to help him find new work. The love and support continue, and I couldn’t be any prouder of my hometown.

I’ll let Avi speak for himself in this new video: http://bit.ly/1z7tGMy

Watch it through to the end. The last line out of Avi’s mouth cuts to the core and will make you smile all over again. I promise.

More Info

For the past 10 years, Avi Gandhi has owned and solely operated Center Lane Stationery in the iconic suburb of Levittown, New York. Seven days a week, from dawn to dusk, Avi is in complete service to its residents. Not once in the entire decade has he taken a sick day.

But Avi’s more than a guy who punches numbers into the cash register. He’ll gladly take lotto numbers over the phone, freely give away candy to kids, send cigarettes to the houses of homebound seniors, and let customers pay him back if they’re hard up.

But more important than the material support, Avi’s position behind the counter often goes beyond cashier to good friend—and even, sometimes, to therapist. He knows the name of every single person who walks in his store and not only that, who their family is and what they’re up to. He makes people feel like they matter. And that there is hope.

But hope is in short supply in Avi’s corner these days. Like many other small businesses on Long Island, the state of New York, and across the greater U.S., Center Lane Stationery is suffering. People buy lotto tickets, but little else. Avi’s shelves have become dusty, his legs weary. Tired of the long days and wanting to spend more time with his wife Bharati, who recently survived cancer, he might be forced to shut down the store come January.

“This town is my everything. It’s my everything. Believe me. I love it very much,” he has been known to say again and again.

The funds from this campaign will be for Avi and Bharati to help support Center Lane Stationery, whether it's restocking inventory, hiring someone a couple days a week to give Avi a break, or if he’s forced to close, starting a mini-retirement fund.

Avi has given Levittown so much. Let's give him something back.

For more info about the film and Avi, visit our website: cashmobforavi.com

Or like us on social media:

facebook.com/cashmobforavi

twitter.com/cashmobforavi

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Help Celeste raise $20,000 by making a donation.

Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
about 3 years ago

Update #10

Avi’s going to have a new life. And we couldn’t be happier for him.

At the end of this month, he’ll be shutting down Center Lane Stationery. Wait a minute, you might be thinking. What about the cash mob? This Fundly campaign? The hope we’ve been writing about?

I wish I could say this story had a Hollywood ending. That the cash mob swayed his landlord to give him a better lease and saved his store. (Your generous donations will help him transition out, however, as he’ll be taking a big loss when he closes.)

We always knew there was a chance it would come to this, and we were shocked and sad as you at first. Until we realized that maybe after all, this story does have a good ending.

If you thought the Levittown community was already awesome, get this: Avi’s customers are trying to help him find new work. The love and support continue, and I couldn’t be any prouder of my hometown.

I’ll let Avi speak for himself in this new video: http://bit.ly/1z7tGMy

Watch it through to the end. The last line out of Avi’s mouth cuts to the core and will make you smile all over again. I promise.

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
about 3 years ago

This Thanksgiving holiday, I’m grateful for you.

As Avi sang about in his latest video, “You look at the world with light and love, and the world will look at you with lots of love. And the darkness of life will vanish, and you will have light.”

Thank you for being the light.

Sharon Trezise commented on a blog post:
about 3 years ago
This is such a heartwarming story. There is so much diversity in this world today. Feel the love that people can have for each other.

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Video: Avi thanks you all for your kindness!

Today is World Kindness Day. And what better way to celebrate than sharing a video of Avi being floored by your generosity. (Bonus: He even sings!)

I’ll let Avi speak for himself. I guarantee you’re going to fall in love with him all over again.

Check out what he has to say here: http://youtu.be/WZn8uQUcpFw

Celeste Hamilton Dennis commented on a blog post:
about 3 years ago
I'll find out for you!
Robert Srinivasiah commented on a blog post:
about 3 years ago
May I request the name of the song that Avi sings in the video? Raj Kapoor made a *lot* of music, and I've had trouble finding that song :)

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Hell yeah! You helped us reach our goal - again.

You did it!

In just a few days, you’ve surpassed the $15,000 goal. I’m sure you’re sick of me saying thanks, but I’m going to say it again: THANK YOU.

I’m also sure many of you agree with Fundly donor Thor Hanks when he says, “We seriously need more videos of Avi.”

Well, Thor, you’ve got one coming. The video team will be heading out to Levittown shortly after the film premieres at The Big Apple Film Festival this week.

You are all awesome.

Celeste

P.S. In case you haven’t done so already, check out the blog on our official 'Cash Mob for Avi' website for more updates and to see the amazing amount of press we’ve gotten so far. My latest blog post is also a shoutout to you, the Fundly community, with some of my favorite donor comments. You can find our website here: cashmobforavi.com.

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Help us reach $15,000 - and watch a new video from Avi

We're just three weeks away from reaching our final goal! Avi is speechless by how awesome you all are.

But a lot of you have been asking to see his response for yourself. Once we hit $15,000, our video team will go out to Levittown and surprise Avi with the total, and then share his reaction with you.

Please help us get there! If you haven't done so already, we'd love it if you could share this campaign with family, friends, local business owners, and anyone who you think will be moved by Avi's story.

You've been tremendous so far. We can't say thank you enough.

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Thanks from Avi's daughter, Jwala

Here's a little something Jwala posted on Reddit recently in response to the overwhelming support from the Reddit community. I wanted to share it with you all to show you how much of an impact your money will have:

Avi is my dad - and he really is one of the best, most genuine people I know. He doesn't use the Internet (really, he doesn't even know how to turn on a computer), but if he knew about this thread, I know that he would be so moved - both by your kind words, and the outpouring of generosity everyone here has shown. I can't believe that, in two days of being published to Reddit, the Fundly has already far surpassed its goal.

My dad has an endless amount of love to share with the world, but the idea of people returning that love, on such a grand, tangible scale, would be unfathomable to him. And how could it not be? This sort of thing doesn't happen very often.

My father works seven days a week from 7AM to 7PM. He's nearly 65, but his determination to get through these hard times, and his love for the customers he serves, is what gets him through every day. It's hard on all of us - I miss having breakfast with my father, waking up to see him on Christmas morning, even sitting and having a beer on a Saturday afternoon. It's these little things that add up, and after ten years, they're not so little anymore.

More than anything else, my father deserves to rest, to be given the opportunity to relax, to go a week without worrying about finances or how the next bill is going to be paid. He deserves to be able to spend his senior years stress-free, and the love you've all shown is going a long way in helping him achieve that goal.

My father isn't alone in his plight, though - this is a situation happening all over the country, in every suburb and city, in the bodega down your street corner. Small businesses don't thrive in a struggling economy, and though it may be easy or convenient to go to the CVS or Walgreens down the street, it's far more meaningful and appreciated to frequent that mom-and-pop shop you pass by on your way to work.

If nothing else, support small businesses, because they deserve our love.

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Ante up!

As you probably already know, within one day we received double of what we were hoping for thanks to the generosity of people like you. Thank you so much again.

Donor Jennie H. wrote recently and suggested we raise the bar, this time to $15,000. So we did.

Great idea, Jennie! Let's keep it going for Avi!

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Celeste Hamilton Dennis posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Floored

Wow. I'm sitting here in the hospital where I gave birth to my second child one day ago and am just floored by the generosity of you all.

You continue to give. No matter where you've come from - whether it be the U.S., Australia, Japan, the UK and more - you've seen Avi how I see him. You get it. You perceive his kindness, his sincere appreciation of the people he serves, and how tirelessly he works.

His story very well may be yours. Or that of someone you know. And you cared enough to reach into your pockets to give whatever you had. I am truly humbled.

In less than 24 hours we've bypassed our fundraising goal. Thank you for believing in Avi, small business, and the power of community. This is beyond.

Stephen J. Walls commented on a blog post:
over 3 years ago
Avi keep up the good work! Through our walk in life, seldom do we see someone of your character!

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