BIS #6257 Nerul Don Bosco's 'community fridge' serves starving needy

by Cleric Christopher Nadar for BISMumbai

No person living around a Salesian institution should go to bed hungry or not have food during the day, is the commitment motto of the Salesians at Don Bosco Nerul. The pandemic lockdown saw the Salesians at Seawoods-Dharave reach out to over 25,000 families and 10,000 migrants. Post-lockdown, many persons, especially migrants, destitute and street-dwellers keep returning requesting help. Don Bosco Nerul thus began the unique 'community fridge' initiative, on 22 January 2021, in New Bombay [Navi Mumbai], to reach out to people without food or who go hungry to bed daily.

The concept of the 'community fridge' is simple. Food and beverages are kept in a cool fridge. Anyone who is poor and hungry can open the fridge and take enough to satisfy their appetite. Another box with snacks, used clothes and masks, is also made available for any needy poor.

Father Adolph Furtado says, “This is an act of faith in divine providence, very much in the true spirit of our founder, Don Bosco. We depend on donors to keep this fridge filled with food, and its success depends entirely on the generous benefactors-from every walk of life."

The 'community fridge' inaugurated by the local police station chief and by sponsor TSS [Team Spreading Smiles] has been in operation over the past week with good demand for the food with a large number of generous donors who replenish the food stock daily.

TSS is also the group instrumental in conducting E-Oratory classes, now spread to over 25 NGOs across India. Rector-Father Barnabe D'Souza thanked everyone, saying, "this is a mandate to reach out to the needy poor in the neighborhood that every Don Bosco institute all over India and South Asia does. It is the largess of the local people and the creativity of our staff with the Salesians to respond to the starving poor through this 'community fridge' initiative, for Don Bosco cares!”