Saturday, November 25, 2006

International Blanket Day 2006

Dear friends,

Yet another winter is upon us. And while some of us more privileged ones are looking forward to the season of snow and holidays and cozy pullovers and a "nip in the air", there are millions of people who live near our own homes and who shiver for hours on end until they fall asleep on a cold pavement under an open sky. But for the grace of God, these people could be Us. The impoverished homeless families huddled silently together under the unforgiving open sky every night could so easily have been You and Me and Our Families. This population does live outside our homes, but let them not live outside our hearts. The pavement they have made their bed is cold, but maybe some warmth from our side can help lessen this cold. This large population is only getting larger, year by year, day by day. Whatever we can do may not solve all their problems, but no effort is ever too little.

As our contribution to minimize the impact of the ravages of the winter of 2006, the MAD Club hereby launches International Blanket Day 2006 (IBD 2006).

International Blanket Day started in the winter of 2001 in memory of a great humanitarian who used to silently distribute hundreds of blankets to the poor people of Calcutta every winter. It was in his memory that 9th December, the date of his passing away, was established, first as "National Blanket Day" and subsequently, in 2004, as "International Blanket Day". From a modest beginning in a classroom in Ahmedabad, the effort has slowly but surely been gaining acceptance across boundaries and borders. Details of IBD 2004 are available here and here. IBD 2005, which was dedicated to the survivors of the devastating Pakistan-India earthquake, saw a net collection of US$ 4,375 which was utilized towards earthquake relief. Further details of IBD 2005 are available here and here.

But all these efforts have just been tiny drops in an infinite ocean. Friends, the journey for providing succour and relief to our fellow brothers and sisters is not a short journey, and the road is not always easy. We seek the blessings and active assistance of all of you in our modest attempts to truly make a difference.

IBD 2006 has no theme. All we request is that you try and donate something to the poor of your neighbourhood which would help them survive the winter of 2006. It could be clothes, blankets, or funds to buy the same. Second-hand clothes and blankets are also useful provided they are clean. You could rope in your friends / family / neighbours / classmates / professional colleagues to form teams and decide how best you could collectively make a difference.

For any help / suggestions, please contact blanketday@yahoo.com and we will revert ASAP. We would also request that each of you who makes a donation / organizes a "mini collection drive" informs us of his / her contribution by sending an email to blanketday@yahoo.com. This will help us keep track of the impact of the movement.

So come. Join us in celebrating December 9th as International Blanket Day.

And let us Make A Difference. Together.

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