During the recent closures due to the pandemic, the community, with its collaborators, reached over 25,000 families and 10,000 internal migrants. And now many of these people continue to turn to the Salesians, especially migrants, the destitute and people in street conditions who are unable to support themselves.
This is why "Don Bosco Nerul", together with its staff, has undertaken a unique initiative in Navi Mumbai to reach these people who cannot find work or are unable to obtain even alms to feed themselves and their children: at the beginning of Don Bosco's Novena, on January 22, 2021, it inaugurated a community refrigerator. There anyone who is poor and hungry can simply open the refrigerator and take enough to satisfy his or her immediate hunger. Next to it is another container that holds snacks, secondhand clothes and handmade masks.
This initiative, explains Fr Adolf Furtado, “is an act of faith in divine providence; it is very much in the true spirit of our founder. We do not put food in the refrigerator each day. People in our neighborhood do that. Its success depends on the donating public.”
In the first days of operation there was a good demand for food and an equal if not greater number of generous benefactors who help the Salesians replenish supplies. “Divine Providence is indeed taking care of our needs as we place our full faith and trust in Him,” continues Fr Furtado.
The community refrigerator was inaugurated by the head of the local NRI Police Station and the sponsor of the refrigerator, the group of volunteers active in Navi Mumbai and known as "Team Spread Smiles" (TSS), which is the same group that conducts lessons and activities of the Salesian “E-Oratory”, which from its local reality has now spread throughout the country through the collaboration of 25 other oratories and NGOs.
“This initiative is also a response to the recent appeal of our Rector Major to focus more than ever on the poorest close to us,” says Fr Barnabe D’Souza, Rector of the work. “This is why we baptized it 'Don Bosco Cares'.”