By Benjamin Wong
TWC2 volunteer Siva (above at right) is decked out in a black T-shirt, grey bermudas and sandals. On the table next to him sits a stack of boxes. A worker approaches him, and Siva hands him one from the stack. The worker takes the box and looks at Siva with a slightly confused look: A new face, a first timer to TWC2’s Cuff Road (free meals) Program. To him, Siva says with a smile, “Now go there, you must sign, take a button, and go inside to collect your food.”
It is Divali, and Siva and his friends have sponsored the boxes. Inside are muruku, laddu and omapodi — popular Indian snacks.
I pull Siva aside to ask him about this gesture of kindness.
“I involved some of my friends: I posted a note on Facebook, asking if anyone wants to contribute to sponsoring some traditional snacks for the workers, whatever the amount, and I will make up the rest,” Siva continues, as he hands out more boxes to the workers. “People popped up and indicated their interest, and the costs was covered almost immediately, shared by about 6 of us. We covered it easily, and everyone felt it would be something nice to do.”
“It is a small gesture. These workers are going to be away from home; traditionally Diwali is a day that is spent with the family, people will be wearing their new clothes, traditional homes would make these snacks, and we felt that perhaps this small gift would help them overcome their heartache. Something that will let everyone celebrate together.”
When Siva told the restaurant, Ananda Bhavan, that he was doing this for charity, they graciously gave him a discount on the cost of the snacks.
“Everyone out there is celebrating, so it’d be something nice to give them, that’s really what we wanted to do,” Siva remarks with a smile.
There are many ways of helping, and many ways of being kind — Siva’s initiative, his friends’ enthusiasm to chip in, Ananda Bhavan for giving a discount on the snacks –all adding up. Likewise, there are many times that we can extend a hand and help those around you, be it a festivity like Diwali, or a fundraising event, or even just a simple opportunity chanced upon as we stroll down the street. Indeed, Christmas is just around the corner, an event, surely, with different meanings for different people: A religious celebration for some, a holiday opportunity, or a reason to feast or to do some shopping. But we would like to emphasize the ‘season of giving’, and prompt you to consider how you can contribute in to your own way, as the month draws to a close, to find out how you can share something, with others around you.