By Christopher Nadar | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 29, 2021

St John Bosco always found innovative ways of engaging the youth and also reaching out to the distraught and distressed on the streets of Turin, Italy. A hundred and fifty years down the line, his legacy continues as Don Bosco institutions across the globe finds ways and means of reaching out to those in need.

In India, during the pandemic, Don Bosco Institutions have been out on the streets reaching out to the hungry and especially when the migrant workers began their march back home.

Don Bosco, Nerul, has been one such institution in the forefront ever since the pandemic broke out. They have now taken their initiative beyond, installing a ‘Community Fridge’ on their premises at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.

This social initiative to reach out to the hungry 24×7 was inaugurated on the first day of the Novena (Friday, January 22, 2021) in preparation for the Feast of Don Bosco at the hands of Mr. Ravindra Patil, Senior Inspector NRI Police Station, CBD Belapur.

Making it happen like Don Bosco

The Community Fridge is the first of its kind in the region and has set a powerful example of community welfare especially for the poor and marginalized. The idea of installing a Community Fridge came from Assumption George, Director of Social Development Works, Don Bosco, Nerul. What was just a part of some casual conversation turned into a reality, when the hungry who were passing by, were the first recipients of the food packets from the fridge, at the hands of Mr Patil on January 22.

The response has been positive. “Thank you very much for the food. I have been hungry from morning and did not have anything to eat. I am so happy that I can get food from this fridge, anytime I am hungry,” said a boy after receiving his food packet and learning from the staff that this Fridge will always be there for him to access whenever he is in need of food. Another lady with two little kids in her arms was overwhelmed. “Now I can easily come here and take food with dignity. Earlier, I had to beg for food,” she said.

Community Fridge at Don Bosco Nerul
Mr Ravindra Patil, Senior Inspector, NRI Police Station, CBD Belapur, lauding the efforts of the staff of Don Bosco, Nerul.

Teaming up for a good cause

Team Spreading Smiles, an NGO helping the oratory kids of the School’s social mission came forward to sponsor the fridge and has committed a certain amount. Additionally, many well-wishers have assured the School of constant support through means of finances or food for the Community Fridge to ensure it never remains empty. The School is sure that many people from the vicinity will participate in this noble cause. From donating old, wearable clothes to sponsoring of new, from cooking of extra food for the sake of the Community Fridge to bringing the balance food from a celebration, from sponsoring through financial support to bringing food packets to be stored in the fridge, all of the options are accepted.

Appreciation from all over

In his speech, Mr Patil expressed his heartfelt congratulations to Don Bosco, Nerul, saying, “I am taken up by this new social venture as it is directly benefitting the poor. Food is a basic need and the School is now reaching out to the poor in our vicinity setting an example for others to follow. I really hope that many more people support this cause.” Fr. Barnabe D’Souza, Rector, had a key role to play in the initiative as he was responsible in bringing people together giving shape to the idea. Additionally, the teachers from the school and college and the support staff worked hard behind the scenes to initiate this project.

Following the example set by Don Bosco, Nerul, Canossa Convent High School, Andheri, Mumbai, has also begun preparations to install a Community Fridge in their locality.

Those wanting to participate in this cause may contact Benedict D’Souza at the School.

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