Mumbai : Mount Carmel Church at Bandra has been conducting a fest for a fortnight at the church and will be donating the proceeds to the poor as part of the Christmas, symbolising the act of giving.
From December 16 onwards, 27 stalls of white elephant stalls, bakery items stalls and Christmas card stalls were set up at the church. The Carmel Church witnessed a footfall of more than 1000 people at the stalls on December 17.
Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Vannesa D’souza(45), who had set up a Christmas cards stall said, “The Christmas cards were prepared in a span of four days by ten children in the age group of 3 to 12 years. We collected Rs 8000 from the sale of cards. We shall be donating the amount to the House of Charity, a Non-Governmental Organisation for the mentally challenged at Andheri which has 45 inmates.
Every year, we contribute money for the birthday celebrations of senior citizens above 75 years whose children are abroad or nobody to take care of.
This year too, we shall be going to the homes of around 25 senior citizens at Nirmala Co-operative Housing society at Bandra to celebrate their birthdays. We shall purchase cakes and sing and celebrate with pomp. This is our way of making them feel special.”
Saloni Rego (11) who had set up a stall of bakery items said, “Two hundred cookies and brownies were sold at the stall. I made a profit of Rs 1800. The money was donated to Urban Communities Development Centre, a Non-Governmental Organisation at Bandra.”
A white elephant stall consisting of glassware, old crockery, artefacts and other house hold items was set up by Irene Fernandes (70), a resident of Rosa Bella society at Bandra.
“We received a very good response. People were willing to donate clothes too. There was absolutely no investment involved since we collected old household items and sold it at the elephant stall. The members of the society have also made personal contributions to Shanti Avedna Centre for Cancer Patients at Bandra.”
Fr. Reuben Tellis of Mount Carmel Church said, “Out of the proceeds of the elephant stall, we shall be donating 300 bed sheets at Tata, Wadia and Lokmanya Tilak hospitals.”
On December 27, there will be a Christmas party at the Dongri juvenile remand home.
“Three volunteers at the church will be celebrating Christmas along with the inmates of the home. A part of the money collected from the stalls will be utilised for sponsoring lunch at the remand home,” said Fr. Tellis
On December 28, gifts will be distributed to 300 children from municipal schools under Rainbow Kids, an initiative of the church.
The church, which was built in 1894 by Koli fishermen, also runs a night school. The teachers at the night school are paid from the charity amount.
“Every year, the Christmas carols are sung by the elders. This year only the kids will be singing,” added Fr. Tellis. When the reporter visited the church in the evening, the children were seen practicing the carols. “We have been practicing everyday for the past two weeks in the evenings,” added Rego.