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When the desire to serve fires up philanthropy

Act of kindness Members of the group distributing food packets to the needy in Tiruchi on Thursday. M. Srinath   | Photo Credit: SRINATH M

Like-minded workers, young and old, employed in small-scale establishments on Big Bazaar Street in Tiruchi have floated the ‘Kanavu Paadhai Nanbarkal Kuzhu’, perhaps to prove that philanthropy is all about the desire to serve and not the wherewithal.

In fact, it was their daily struggle for survival that prompted them to reach out to the needy.

The group members, who grapple with their own financial struggles, have also witnessed how the destitute live in the area. “Once our shutters are down, they sleep in front of our shops; they cannot rest in front of large showrooms as watchmen chase them away,” says a volunteer.

Jahir Hussain, who coordinates the philanthropy wing, says the seeds of the group were sown on a small scale when he was looking for means of treating his intellectually disabled sister. “Like me, every individual in the group has a personal reason to help the needy. We render our services to old-age homes, homes for children with disabilities and other needy sections...,” he says.

What started out as a WhatsApp group of 10-15 members has become a 250-member group. “We do not put out messages seeking donations. We write out a message stating our intention to feed these many people and whoever can contributes a small amount. The adage ‘small drops make an ocean’ works in our case,” he says.

The group provided free meals to the destitute over the last year. In the last two weeks, it has provided lunch to patients and their attenders at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital and those who were stranded at the Central Bus Stand and the railway junction. “The Sunday lockdown has affected the poor the most. While they would get a meal one way or another on weekdays, food is hard to come by during a lockdown,” Mr. Hussain reasons.

The group also makes donations to residents in old-age homes and orphanages. “There are members who volunteer to sponsor all the meals distributed on a certain day to celebrate their birthday and in memory of their parents,” a volunteer says. The members take turns to donate blood once a month and in case of emergencies.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 11:38:51 PM |

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