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Region 1 - Young Adults Programme: Christmas Hampers for the Homeless

Aum Sai Ram,

On the 20th Dec 2013, approximately 25 Youth from Region 1 gathered at the house of a devotee in Sutton, Surrey. Everyone was in high spirits as this was the annual ‘Hampers Collection and Compilation’ activity.

This is a youth led initiative, during which Christmas Hampers are made for ‘The Passage’, an organization that runs London’s largest voluntary sector day centre for homeless and vulnerable people. They also have a team of Outreach Workers, who make contact, often late at night or early in the morning, with those sleeping rough in the streets of London Victoria, South London.

The aim of the Hampers is to provide the basics, required for the homeless to keep them warm and dry over the winter months. Each Hamper contains 6 items, including a sleeping bag, rain coat, socks, gloves, a scarf and a hat. The hampers were to be distributed by The Passage Outreach Team on Christmas Eve.

In preparation for this event all Centre Youth Coordinators in Region 1 had liaised with their Sai Centers and had collected donations from devotees for the above items. We received a staggering response from devotees across Region 1.

The activity commenced with Three Aum’s, followed by a quick briefing regarding the processes by which the items were to be prepared and collated to form the hampers. The items were firstly, unboxed, de-tagged and removed from all packaging. They were then separated (by type) and placed in different areas. Each youth then walked around to each section and collected one of each item and placed it in the hamper bag, before leaving it in the hallway, for it to be quality checked and Christmas labelled.

A volunteer from The Passage than arrived and all Hamper Bags were loaded into his van, to be taken back to London Victoria and distributed on Christmas Eve. Over 121 Hampers were made and there was also a box of extra items that was donated too.

With Swami’s grace, the hamper packing task was completed earlier than expected, and as a result, we were fortunate to be able to commence packing for a medical camp in Sierra Leone, whereby the packing was to occur at the same venue, the following day.

Swami says: “Engage yourselves in service activity. Consider social service as service to God. This is the best way to earn God’s Love. Love all and Serve All. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby”.

Sai Ram

Vishal Patel
Youth from Tooting Sai Centre, Region 1