News Release

Lighting India with Acts of Kindness

Worldwide Day of Service ushers in season of giving


All throughout India, various acts of kindness contributed to a Worldwide Day of Service to inaugurate this year’s Light the World initiative by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On December 1st, after dark, when people lay down for the night, Chinna, his fourteen-year-old son Shankar and friend Luther went out into the streets of Rajahmundry looking for people in need. They found an elderly woman huddled in her tiny shop by the road, a man with a physical disability bedded down in a very small stand and an older man with his paralyzed wife who, with others, were sleeping on the cement sidewalks lining the east bank of the Godavari River.  Gently they woke the homeless to offer warm fleece blankets and bags of apples and oranges.

Earlier that day, Ishitha, age 16, with twenty other volunteers visited a home for the elderly in Delhi.

She said, “My grandfather is in an old age home in Hyderabad, and now I know exactly how he feels. Helping these old people was like helping him.” 

“We played games,” she continued, “and I taught them how to make origami butterflies.  We brought groceries for them and hired a cook to fix a meal for them We ate and sang old Hindi movie songs together. We planted saplings in the median in front of the home.  They were farmers and taught us how to do it. We could see how they missed their families. Since then I have been calling my grandfather more often.”

Elsewhere in Delhi, women distributed sweaters, cake and candies to 25 children in an orphanage. Children assembled hygiene kits that included gloves and socks. They took the kits to a large overpass under which many homeless live and gave the kits plus a small bag of rice and dhal to the children there.   

In northwest Chennai, members of the Latter-day Saint community made school bags, filled them with supplies and took them to a local orphanage. They shared a meal and spent the day teaching and playing games with the orphans.

Fifty senior citizens in Bangalore were served dinner by their neighbors who also visited and sang carols.   Across town residents cleaned up their Ramamurthy Nagar neighborhood then donated blood at a local hospital.

In Mumbai, a group of young men went to the beach along historic Marine Drive and picked up trash for a couple of hours. They were joined by others they met. 

Service continued throughout the month, some performed individually and other on a larger scale. Far to the south of India in Coimbatore, four-year-old Eileen gave her lunch to a poor man she saw on the road. Elsewhere in the City, women and children gathered at an orphanage to sing Christmas carols, dance, give gifts and share the message of Christmas.

Of the service rendered, one woman remarked, “We felt joy as we gave the gifts to the children and were thankful to our Father in Heaven for the gift of His son, Jesus Christ.”

In another Coimbatore community women played, sang, danced and shared gifts with mentally challenged children at a rehabilitation center. The experience for one participant was profound. 

“We returned home with memories that would linger in our hearts,” she said, “and realized that happiness is kept in store for us if we live as Jesus lived and ‘give love till it hurts’ as Mother Teresa once said.”

Residents of the Saidapet neighborhood of Chennai prepared food and distributed it to the hungry they found on the streets. Meanwhile, in the south of the City, young adults went out into their community to create awareness of the ill effects of plastics on the environment.  

In Bangalore three old age homes received sheets, pillow cases, mats, groceries, cleaning supplies and handmade cards.

In west Delhi, young people gathered to clean a park so slum children would have a place to play.  Afterwards they shared snacks with the little ones who had come to watch and help.

In another part of the City youth distributed warm clothing to slum families. Twenty-one-year-old Sam, who participated in the activity, was particularly touched by one family with two small children who received his donation with tears of gratitude in their eyes. 

“I think,” he said, “we should do this more often.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites all to approach the Christmas season with a renewed focus on service and giving time, love, and resources as Jesus gave by performing simple acts of service in their neighborhoods and communities. 

Note:  A downloadable advent calendar is available at that provides ideas for service in December. The calendar is customizable, allowing flexibility and creativity in how and when service is rendered.

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