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A different kind of Christmas when Santa cares for his community out of his own pocket

Alualumoana Luaitalo

Sandeep Patel is holding a Christmas event at his Clyde Road superette in Ōtara.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Sandeep Patel says giving back to his Ōtara community is a great feeling.

A family-friendly Christmas event is coming soon in December, so if you're a local, get on down with the whānau/aiga and enjoy the goodies on offer.

"I always believe that you can help the community that you live in, and it's like the saying in India, 'charity begins at home'.

"Ōtara is my home currently and that's what I believe in to spread around."

Patel is the owner of Clyde Road Superette in Ōtara, after taking ownership from his uncle who has retired.

After living in east Auckland for nine years, and not knowing who their neighbours were, Patel says he feels at home in Ōtara.

"Within two months, I met my neighbours here and they offered help to look after my little one ... that gives me a memory that I feel like I'm back home in India."

Patel says he feels like the connection has been lost within the community.

"I heard the story about Ōtara when something happens, the community works together to help each other out.

"Probably this small gesture is just something to bring the community back together."

Patel initially had an 'open table' concept for the event, and for everyone to have a community dinner together and to bring food to share.

"It's like your bringing your family and increasing another family vibe ...”

He also helps out with some of the elderly who live nearby, by delivering them some groceries on rainy days or if they have no transport.

"I gave them my number if they need something to buy, then they call me and I pack from their list and go and deliver to them.

"Because some of them can't walk all the way here you know.

"Some walk and get sore and tired by the time they are halfway to me here."

Patel says he enjoys this part of his day and gets to see more of the people in the community this way.

As there is no funding for Christmas at Clyde, Patel has reached into his own pocket to make this happen.

After initiating a budget for himself, he said he just let it open and no budget because this was his way of giving back and it was important to him.

He also has some mates who will help him with hosting the day and lots of music and mingling with the crowd.

Patel has shopped for some amazing gear for giveaways such as 12 pairs of VANS, skateboards and bikes for the event.

The dairy carpark and grass area will be coned off to allow safe enjoyment on the day and a marquee set up for shade to relieve from heat of the sun and a set up of tables and chairs for dining.

A kids' event will kick off with bouncy castles, face painting from those in the community, and giveaways.

Later in the evening, there will be a dinner, with butter chicken and rice and some of his suppliers who have answered the call out to help out Patel with the event offering some free goodies to give away as well.

He hopes that the event will also be inspirational for the kids as he reached out to the local emergency services, like the Police, to come by.

He wants the community to know that they are here to help us.

A family friendly event so if you're a local, get on down with the whānau/aiga and enjoy!

Christmas at Clyde runs from 3 pm-8 pm on Saturday, 16 December.

Hero image: L-R: Owner of Clyde Road Superette Sandeep Patel and his staff Jignesh Parmar and Hemrajsigh Gogel. Photo / Alualumoana Luaitalo

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