Two initiatives to spread the Christmas cheer

Hospital staff will serve an extra meal for every order placed with them; and volunteers will wrap toys for distribution

Delivering lunch and happiness

The staff and management at CURI Hospital on Rajiv Gandhi Salai are getting ready for a busy week. They are going to spend some extra hours, beyond the regular hospital work, to spread the Christmas cheer by delivering special meals cooked from the hospital canteen.

For the second year, the team lead by chefs Sathish, Partha and Somnath and dietician Vidya and Sivasankari are going to cook an extra meal for every order placed with them.

“Order your Christmas lunch and we will deliver with it lunch for another family. It could be your maid, driver, iron man or the lady selling vegetables in the corner,” reads a note circulated on WhatsApp.

Gayathri Ananthakrishnan, managing director, CURI Hospital, says the initiative is aimed at spreading the festive cheer and instill the value of empathy in the staff.

“As our canteen only caters to hospital patients and guests, our staff raise their bar for the Christmas lunch where the menu includes an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options,” says Gayathri.

The staff are involved in taking orders, cooking, packing and delivering food. “Last year, we handed over 350 meals,” says Gayathri, adding that the staff spread the word.

She says people chose to give those working for them, some wanted a surprise meal sent to a friend/senior citizen; and many others were specific that it be shared with a needy person.

There is a dietician that can be consulted over the phone for those with a diet restriction and the meal is accordingly customised. Each of these meal packs are delivered with a personalised message, again to ring in the spirit of the season. The Christmas lunch will be delivered on December 19, 24 and 25.

To place an order and for other details, contact 8838093097 / 8778125395

Gifting a smile

More than 30 volunteers gathered at Urban Desi House in Perungudi on Saturday for a gift-wrapping activity. The objective of wrapping presents in colourful papers is to bring a smiles to underprivileged children whose hands they would be placed in. The smiles will grow wider when the child unwraps the present as each of them is chosen with a lot of love and care by our team, says Sunitha Vikram and Subha Pandian of AGUA Women Foundation.

They along with a clutch of volunteers have been driving an initiative for the last five years called ‘Gifting Smiles’, where funds collected from well-wishers are used to buy age-appropriate gifts to be distributed on December 26.

“This is our sixth year and the initiative has grown with the support of many volunteers,” says Sunitha. One important task after wrapping the gifts is to colour and gender-code gifts like toys, stationery, books and sports kits so that they go to the right age group.

Every year, the gifts are given in a different locality. Last year, 2000 gifts were distributed with the help of 150 volunteers.

“Our drive starts in October and so far we have collected a few lakh of rupees. New toys are bought at wholesale rates and brought to a common point for packing,” says Subha.

She says they have volunteers spread across various zones in Chennai who collect these gifts and distribute them in the respective areas. “In the previous editions, we covered nine neighbourhoods where teams would launch out after Christmas. Due to the pandemic, this time, we are planning to divide into four teams and we will be restricting the work to areas on ECR, especially where fishermen hamlets are located,” says Subha.

Gifting Smiles also collects new toys from well-wishers. “One could even volunteer for distribution,” says Subha.

For details, contact Subha at 9790907817.

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