It was something that Siliguri had not seen earlier–a refrigerator and a rack that store food and clothes for the needy opened at Pradhan Nagar in the town on 18 August.

As she came up with the noble idea for Siliguri, Dr Neeru Sharma, a hypnotherapist and sound therapist, says she was inspired by a similar service for the poor and needy that she came across in Dubai.

“Mr Krishna Lama, the secretary of the Bhanu Bhakta Samity, gave us this particular place for the good cause,” says Dr Sharma, whose husband, CP Sharma, is a renowned doctor in Siliguri.

“We always get that urge to do whatever we can to help others, but the problem lies in the fact that we do not find enough time to go and perform doorto-door services. Besides, we all have some loose-fitting garments or dresses that we have already outgrown, while we continue shopping, buying new clothes, toys, shoes and stuffs like that. Some people do not understand how they can get rid of those, while a few others are having a hard time securing the same. Hence, I wanted to do something in order to balance that mechanism and I finally figured it out while I was in Dubai. I had seen such a service being performed out there so I decided to bring it home,” says Dr Sharma.

Named ‘Divine Blessing,’ the place is now frequented by both the helpful and the helpless, where people donate their clothes and food, which are stored, while anyone wanting to use them can simply go there and ask for them.

“A few organisations are running quite well already, but there still are people who are loitering around hungry, thirsty and without proper clothes to wear. Taking all those into consideration, we opened the public fridge and set up separate racks for clothes and toys. We presently have around 20-30 visitors a day, who come to donate stuff, and the number is increasing by the day. No sooner do the clothes arrive, they are taken by someone or the other,” Dr Sharma says.

According to Dr CP Sharma, they have hands at ‘Divine Blessing’ who guide people there.

“The needy can come and take things by themselves. However, since most of the times the place is crowded, we have hired workers to help and manage the crowd while also preventing the misuse of any of the items taken from there, as people may take the stuff and sell them elsewhere. There is also a chance of one person taking everything, while the others do not get anything at all. Therefore, the two helpers–Binod Chettri and Sarju William-work alternately and hand over the items to the people,” he says.