It is rightly said, ‘Life becomes adventurous when one ceases to live for oneself’, and Lions Club of Jaigaon Shivalik learnt it during the ‘Festival of Lights’.
It all started in the fifth general meeting where members were discussing about hosting a Diwali Party, and a member blurted something uncanny, which caught the hearts of other members present. The member none other than our own Club President Lion Ankit Agarwal said “During Diwali, most of us would celebrate by organizing grand parties or go shopping for new clothes, gifts, etc, but there are many who would go hungry, and many who would go without even realising the beauty of this celebration. For them, Diwali would be just another taxing day, a chase for the pursuit of survival. Why don’t we do something this Diwali that would bring smiles on the skimmed faces of some of these deprived and destitute people?”
Members in unison agreed and were very much convinced of helping the unprivileged or financially challenged instead of spending lavishly at a dinner party, making it all the more significant and memorable.
All members pledged to donate about 300 food packets worth Rs.250/- each consisting of rice, pulses, potato, salt and cooking oil. The magnanimous Secretary of the club, Lion Rupesh Kumar Agarwal expressed his joy for this generous service by donating 101 food packets and motivating members to donate with open hearts. Lion Suman Prasad Srivatava was appointed Chairman of the project and Lion Arabinda Kumar Das was appointed Co-Chairman.
The Press Club of Dooars got to know about this initiative and met the club President to express their willingness to support this cause. As a result of this association with the Press Club of Dooars, the target of catering to 300 people rose to 1000 food packets.
It was during this time that the members learned about the shutting down of the Madhu Bagan Tea Estate more than two years back. Many workers were now jobless and their plight was lamentable. This forthcoming fight for hunger program was covered in the local media with the support of Press Club of Dooars, which provided a good leverage in the efforts of the club to raise fund from the market. This campaign received a robust response, where some even donated single packets to an NGO called J.R. Foundation, which came forward with a contribution of 150 packets.
Upon crossing this target, the club decided to procure an additional one ton of potatoes to be distributed with the food packets. In order to make this program an exemplary one, the members visited the Madhu Bagan Tea Estate for two days before the event to issue coupons and avoid last minute rushes. On the 23rd October, 2016 on the school ground of Madhu Tea Estate, Lions Club of Jaigaon Shivalik in association with the Press Club of Dooars donated more than 1000 food packets along with jeans and T-shirts, serving more than 1000 families. The Guest of Honor at the event was VDG-1 Distt 322F Lion Kedar Gajmer, with other dignitaries being, Commandant 53rd Battalion. Mr. Munna Singh, PDG Lion Ashok Kumar Agarwal, and Chief Editor of Bharat Darpan. There were about 16 members from the club who participated enthusiastically along with their consort. The program started at 10 AM with the felicitation of the guests and was followed by a brief talk with few Guests of honor, finally finishing at around 3PM. There were six distribution counters which made the task fast and easy. The SSB Jawans assisted the members by streamlining the queue and avoiding the hustle and bustle. The people out there were full of praise for the noble service as well as for the systematic management of the distribution of relief materials.
PDG Ashok Kumar Agarwal narrated a very striking story worthy of sharing. He said, “A sea shore where millions of fish were laid behind on the beach scuffling for life, a man was seen by a little boy trying to save the fish by picking one at a time and throwing it back to the sea. On noticing the little boy inquisitively inquired, what difference would it make if only you can save few of these fish, when there are millions going to die. To this the old man picked another fish and threw it to the sea and said, it makes difference to this one.” Therefore, although about 13 percent of people go hungry across the globe, it should not hold us back taking tiny steps towards service of mankind.
There can be no peace in this world, when a large section of people still struggle for bare necessities of life.