METRO PLUS

The `supreme' way to serve

MOST PEOPLE want to `do good', but don't know where to start, says C.N. Paramasivan, managing director of the A.P.N. group of companies, and an honorary committee member of the TTDIC. He says that SriVari Seva, the service wing of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Information Centre (TTDIC), might be a good place to start since they have been working in different parts of the city for the past two years.

The service wing was started to provide volunteers to the temple in Tirupati. At least 50,000 people visit the temple daily and although the Devasthanams has over 17,000 employees, they find it difficult to handle the flood of devotees arriving daily, explains Paramasivan. Volunteers from Chennai go to Tirumala and spend a week there, to escort devotees and help the temple authorities.

Apart from these volunteer services, SriVari Seva has diversified into other philanthropic activities. Their most recent was donating clothes and other essentials to at least 6,000 residents of a slum in T. Nagar. And it wasn't just a random collection and distribution exercise. The Seva volunteers spent a few weeks collecting data about the slum and its residents. The number of members of each family, their occupations, income and other details were recorded. "We distributed items based on the needs of each family. That's why we collected all that data. For example, if a family had a toddler, we made sure they got toys," says Paramasivan. Each family was then given a token. Clothes, books, utensils, toys, sheets, pillows and other items that had been collected from schools, colleges and the public were sorted into different packages, and marked for the different families. On the day of distribution, the families had to show their token to claim their parcels. "We wanted to bring order into the process, so that the families who were receiving the items as well as the people who had donated would be satisfied."

The Seva also conducts free medical camps and blood donation camps regularly. They organise religious and philosophical discussions for the public and in schools and colleges. The Seva's volunteers get together to clean temples. So far, they've cleaned up the Ramanujar temple at Sriperambudur, the Perumal temple at Thiruneermalai and the Siva temple in Trisoolam.

The SriVari Seva volunteers meet on the first Saturday of every month to plan the agenda for the month ahead. Join this group of philanthropists at their next meeting on April 5. For more details call 24334700, 24331776 or 24334895.

SHALINI UMACHANDRAN

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