There are 23 stalls where visitors can display their spirit of generosity

There could have been no better way for the city to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation than by launching a week-long festival of ‘giving’ on Tuesday.

“Joy of Giving Week” (JGW) comes to Coimbatore this year, even though the event has been enjoying the patronage of people living in metros, since its inception in 2009.

The festival thrives on the efforts of volunteers and focuses on the spirit of giving – from anything to anything. It is an opportunity for sharing time, money, and resources, as a gesture of giving back to society.

Though the ‘giving festival’ was formally inaugurated at Ramakrishna Kalyana Mandapam by District Collector M. Karunagaran, Coimbatore is expected to be abuzz with activities and events to be held in different places in connection with this festival that will go on till October 8.

‘Aram Seyya Virumbu’, the flagship event of JGW, being organised by Rotary Coimbatore Central here on Tuesday and Wednesday, has service organisations showcasing their work.

There are 23 stalls at which visitors can display their spirit of generosity by contributing cash, kind or labour. It is a one-stop shop for those who always wanted to be philanthropic but did not know how to.

There are choices among women’s welfare, environment, sanitation, healthcare, education, rural development, child welfare, physically and mentally challenged children, and senior citizen welfare, from which one can choose from.

This is not all. One can also buy handicrafts and fancy items made by inmates of some of the organisations to deck up the house.

Easy processing is done by ‘Thozhar Trust’ for those interested in donating eyes and body.

Sri Krishna Sweets has donated 400 boxes of sweets, which the organisers have priced at Rs. 200. But even within an hour of the inauguration of the event, most of the sweets were taken, with visitors bidding prices between Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,500 for each box.

Another interesting option is available. There is a register kept for those wishing to donate anything, and another for those who are in need of something.

The volunteers collect the names and the items that the visitors wish to donate and match them with those who need those items. There were some interesting entries ranging from computers, speakers, and cycles to be given away.

There are more options in giving – used books. The organisers are collecting used books in large numbers to be distributed to rural libraries.

Though a large part of the managing is done by the organiser, there are many others who have pitched in to see the week turn out to be a useful experience to the city people. College students are contributing in whatever way possible. They are manning the reception, taking enquiries at stalls, organising competitions, and music programmes, at the venue. They have also put up stalls, the proceeds of which will go for a cause.

The maximum involvement, is however, is in the collection of used books. Besides this, there are other events to be held in colleges. The SNR Sons’ Charitable Trust has sponsored the venue.

N. Vaghul, former chairman of ICIC Bank Limited, who is the ambassador for the ‘Joy of Giving Week’ said the response in Coimbatore was heartening.

“JGW started in Mumbai and spread to metros. In Tamil Nadu, this is the first time it has moved out of Chennai. The festival is like any other such as Dussehra or Diwali and is not owned by a single person. Hence, with the efforts of the volunteers it will take its own course in the years to come,” he said.

School students were also made part of the ‘giving’. As many as 1,000 ‘hundis’ are being distributed to the children in which they will save money.

The money saved will be handed over by them to any cause, which is close to their heart, on their birthday.

What they gave

G. Kathirvel, third-year mechanical engineering student of Kumaraguru College of Technology, is in-charge of the used book collection campaign. He has volunteered to collect books from all sources, especially colleges, segregate the collected books and send the relevant ones to rural libraries.

Uma Balasundaram bought a sweet tray, costing Rs. 200, of assorted vegetables of Sri Krishna Sweets for Rs. 1,000.

Chanda Khaturia bought a product made by children of Amrit Centre for Special Needs. However, she has taken details of most of the other organisations, so that proceeds from fund raisers organised by the R.S. Puram Ladies Club or Sindhi associations can be used according to the needs of the organisations.

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