Dispelling darkness: Good Samaritans in Agra celebrate Diwali with the underprivilegedUpdated: Oct 28, 2019, 17:30 IST
A heartening sight greeted Taj city residents on Diwali morning. In as many as 10 places across Agra, Good Samaritans gathered to celebrate the festival of lights with the needy -- distributing free food and blankets to hundreds of deprived people.
Shedding light on the initiative, Parth Baghel, a participant, said, “A group of students from the 2016 batch of the St Peter’s College began this donation drive around seven years ago. Initially, the group comprised just a handful of people who would distribute food to the poor on Diwali morning.”
Over the years, he said, the group had grown and this time, more than 200 students participated in the drive. “Our dress code is white tops/ shirts. Our team members can be spotted easily across various parts of the city today (Sunday),” said volunteer Abhay Pratap.
“This year, we distributed 900 food packets and over 150 blankets,” said Prafful Garg, another contributor in the drive.
One of the first volunteers for the donation drive, Aarushi Bansal, said, “We started at 6 am and tried to reach out to the furthest corners of the city. We especially want to reach out to as many rag-pickers and homeless persons as we could, as they are among the most vulnerable in the society.”
“We would like our family of volunteers to keep growing. Next year, we hope to have an even bigger turnout and bring smiles to many more faces,” she said.
In an effort aimed at beautifying the city on the occasion of Diwali, volunteers of a social organisation were seen painting ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) on the MG Road intersection, near the ‘Bharat Mata’ statue.
The volunteers -- from the India Rising Foundation -- also felicitated cleanliness workers and rag-pickers on the day.
“This is a gesture of gratitude from us. On Diwali, we want to thank all those who work for us all round the year. As a token of our appreciation, we are felicitating them with garlands and sweets,” said Sandeep Agarwal, director, India Rising Foundation.
A volunteer Kamini Sharma said, “Every Sunday, we come out for two hours -- 7 am to 9 am -- to beautify our city. This is our way of giving back to our city. We are glad that Diwali fell on a Sunday this year.”