(Bengaluru, India) “Whatever you did for one these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt. 26: 40) says the Lord at the parable of the Final Judgment. It is a call to be responsible and sensitive to the needs of those who are around us. Though that expectation has to be lived always, Christmas is a season to ‘gift giving’ as an imitation of the God who incarnates gifting the self for the sake of the whole humanity.
The Corona lockdown has affected people in all walks of life in various fronts. Economic crisis is one of them. In the midst of this severe economic crisis while poor parents struggle to feed their children, how could they provide their children any new clothes? But, children will like to wear new clothes. “SEEDS Foundation” (A Redemptorist and Lay Collaborated Unit at the service of the poor and the marginalized) has taken up this task for the second consequent years (in the name of “SEEDS Secret Santa”) to provide new pair of clothes to underprivileged children of the vicinity of Holy Ghost Church, Bengaluru – India, so that they too can have the joy of celebrating the season of Christmas.
We had decided to select 150 poor children in our vicinity and give them a pair of clothes for them, but at the end we could provide for 300 children. Among these 300 children, 225 were girls and 75 were boys all ranging from 4 years to 15 years of age. It was made possible because of the generous contribution of the parishioners at the Holy Ghost Church, well-wishers and our friends. A very special mention to be made of Fr. Provincial of the Bangalore Province and the Vice-Provincial of the Majella Vice-Province whose all-round support is our constant encouragement.
The ‘Secret-Santa’ project was executed on 17th and 18th of December 2020. In order to avoid a large gathering of children, we split the dates and grouped them in to small numbers and we kept the SOP of the Government with regards to lockdown period procedures. Accordingly, on the 17th December, we had a small Christmas function in which about 100 students from St. Alphonsus School were gathered. We had Carols sung by St. Francis of Assisi SCC from Holy Ghost Parish and by Fathers from the Mt. St. Alphonsus Community. St. Alphonsus PU College students performed a welcome dance and a cultural dance (Kolaattam). The program lasted for about an hour at the end of which children received their ‘Secret-Santa’ Christmas clothes along with a box of sweets.
On 18th December morning, about 150 students (from Holy Ghost Parish and from three of our tuition centers) came in person to receive their ‘Secret-Santa’ Christmas clothes along with a box of sweets. In the evening, we went to Nirmala Girls School (run by St. Charles Sisters) from where we had selected 50 deserving children and distributed the same.
The children were all happy to receive their ‘Secret Santa’ clothes thanking and praying for their dear donors, who are actually the ‘Secret Santa’ for them. At this moment, we would like to thank all those who generously contributed towards this project and made it overwhelmingly a positive one. May God bless you all. Kindly continue to support us. Together we can make the underprivileged to become privileged.
Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year, 2021.
Yours in Christ the Redeemer,
Fr. James Kumar CSsR