Spread Christmas cheer among less privileged

  • Pankti Mehta and Nisha Shroff, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2014 00:31 IST

Special menus and wishing trees at restaurants, gifts for taxi drivers and even an app that lets you donate to NGOs without leaving the house — there are plenty of options for the do-gooder looking to spread Christmas cheer this year.

At Andheri restaurant Vedge, you can order a snack and have the proceeds go towards five underprivileged children’s education. The youngsters are all from the Anand Nagar and Adarsh Nagar slums nearby.
The special add-on menu, featuring the children’s own favourite dishes, will be available from December 21 to 31.

“My dish is cheese pav bhaji,” says Jyoti Saroj, 10, who wants to be a doctor. Jyoti will also have her photo and story feature on a menu, as will Vivek Dubey, 14, whose dish is pani puri shots, and Savita Charkatle, 12, who wants to be a policewoman and whose pick was a brownie, cream and chocolate sauce tower. “Christmas is all about giving,” says Aditya Sawant, owner of Vedge. “We are training our staff to encourage patrons to at least read the children’s stories.”

Meanwhile, at Smoke House Deli outlets in Lower Parel, Bandra and Bandra-Kurla Complex, wish trees have been set up with scrawled requests from street children associated with NGO Aseema.

“We encourage guests to indulge in the spirit of giving this season, and sponsor or donate a gift,” says Shobita Kadan, president of marketing at SHD. Both restaurants plan to invite the children over for an indulgent meal once the campaign is over, and deliver their gifts to them at the event.

“I went to Smoke House Deli for a meal and ended up gifting street children a school bag and a football. The Wishing Tree is such a unique and thoughtful idea. My gift to them is a balance of work and play from their desired wish list,” said Rohan Guptan, 43, an advertising executive.

And on Monday, smartphone app Haptik will launch a Secret Santa service that will allow users to donate gifts to the needy through NGOs, via online charity platform e-Daan. “Users just need to send a message to the Haptik handle with details of what they would like to donate and where we can pick it up,” says Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO of Haptik. “e-Daan will then get the NGOs to collect the gifts at a convenient time.”

This tie-up adds new meaning to our work, added Kasol Malladi, co-founder of e-Daan.

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