Chapter: GREEN touch & Maryam
My favorite color is GREEN.
For many years I had a RED problem. Finally after twenty years, I was able to see my mother and sister.
The 3 days we spent together brought back
so many memories, especially of the time my sisters and I shared growing up in
After so many years we just clicked. It all felt so right.
Although we share so much we have diverged in our ways of thinking, feeling, believing, our ways of life and our perspectives.
With my vow of poverty and service, I feel that I have become so different compared to the rest of the world.
On the first night together with my mother and sister in Mumbai I had to go provide service to the poorest of the poor.
After putting my mother to bed near the Taj hotel, I asked my dear sister if she would accompany me.
She said sure.
At the time I knew she did not understand my world and vows, but she just missed me and wanted to hang out.
So off we went in Mumbai buying fruits, biscuits and whatever we could find and began serving
the poorest of the poor sleeping on the sidewalks with their children and families.
At one point, I noticed my sister was giving very small GREEN candies to the children.
I asked her where she bought them and she
said that it was a habit she has had for many years living in
She explained that when she was a student she could not afford to give money to all of the people begging and also that if you give to one child, 10 more kids would show up,
so she just gave them each a small candy. With this way of giving she did not have to say ‘no’ and she also felt that candy was more pleasant than money.
I was so shocked. I said ‘bravo’. I had
totally forgotten that she had spent more time in
I am SO proud of my little sister’s genuine touch for the poorest of the poor. As a matter of fact,
I learned something so VALUABLE about charity, something
So simple yet so Powerful,
So small yet so Big,
So GREEN yet so bright,
A simple act of mercy.
I brought that lesson not only to my business world but also to my hospitality. If you offer dinner or something else bigger to someone,
they will most likely refuse. But if you offer something small such as Tea or a bottle of water, odds are more likely they will accept, and the effect is much greater. It was quite a strategy because it’s an absolute win- win situation, you don’t get ‘no’ and at the same time you serve and practice your hospitality.
I think of this and practice it ‘til this day.
The next day, I took a beautiful photograph of my sister giving the small GREEN candies to the Crying Nobodies children on the side walk.
I called the photo ‘Maryam’s GREEN touch’.
My sister’s simple green candy gift has
now become a part of
I also practice this with one of my amazing charity friends who always gives me candy when I go away to give to the poor. This practice has such a magnificent feeling.
Money has such a negative connotation but the candy has such a positive one. It changes the spirit and just lifts and gives so much more to the act of GIVING.
When I pass on the monetary donations to the poorest of the poor I give it with a little candy, it is such a green touch.
Two Years after my family visit, with one of
Serving Charity engineers, Rishi
and one of my lovely Italian friends, Lisa
we decided to work together on a few charity projects.
First we worked on the Princess Margaret bike ride for Lisa.
We did a fundraising event together and then trained. From this experience there was so much growth in charity and friendship.
Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace.
will come if we seek first the
rest will be given.
Our intention was to use the raised money for an orphanage project but the
For the last four years we have had a
Some of them sleep with their families, brothers and sisters on the sidewalk.
These children are truly in my heart, they are so down to earth, genuine, and pure.
The love they have for caring, sharing, giving, compassion, mercy, charity, faith and GOD
absolutely blows me away. I took another
Serving charity also helped to save the
life of a very young child in
Last year I met this young girl that was dying and needed a kidney transplant. It was so disturbing to see her mom crying outloud as her child was dying before her.
I took the young girl to the hospital immediately for treatment and it was just in time,
the doctor said that if this child had waited a few more minutes she would have died.
The miracle was when the administration told me how much the hospitable bill was,
it was unbelievable, it was exactly the amount I had in my wallet.
Engineer Puneet did a fantastic job
communicating with the SC children crew in
because we do not believe in buying organs.
The operation was expensive and SC
supported the operation cost along with donors from
It was such a glory to see the family smile
The operation went well but later in time her body began to reject the kidney, so we decided to borrow part of the funds raised at OrphanAid to pay for the kidney medication.
Going back and forth between needs we decided to donate the funds to the orphaned children living with the Sisters for milk and cookies.
Then for one of our fundraising events for OrphanAid we needed a prize for one of the raffles. I remembered the charity with my sister from two years ago and decided to use the photograph I took of her giving candy to the children. It was the most appropriate fit for this event.
The photograph framed was ‘Maryam’s GREEN touch’.
So my brother
who similar to me has experienced struggles himself,
framed the photograph beautifully and kept the prize in our office for a few days.
A few days later the OrphanAid event
arrived. As a result of being so busy, my and my secretary Kristina we double
booked one of our bartenders
In the process,
I had said ‘no, not yet’, not knowing that Lisa did not bring a volunteer to cover the door.
I could not believe that the double booking had been for this event but a miracle was soon to manifest.
Out of all of my staff, my brother
That night there were miracles everywhere I looked.
Chapter: GREEN offering for blessing & Mr. Khosla
In most religions when someone passes
away, families and loved ones give offerings to charity in the name of the
deceased as a blessing. After having her
husband ill and then unfortunately passing away, Mrs. Khosla, a friend of
I went with
When I saw him lying down in front of his wife, Mrs. Khosla, I felt her grief.
1ST Letter form SC
This is ABBAS from
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my condolences for your loss.
I have been through many similar times of suffering and I understand how hard and painful it is to lose a loved one.
The first couple of months are absolute hell.
But I promise to you, it will get better. It will change us in a different way.
Before I came to the funeral, and after the funeral on Thursday,
I went to the Swami Narayan Mandir and I prayed to my LORD
for you and your family to give you strength to get through this suffering.
GOD has a plan for all of us and He works in a very mysterious way that we cannot understand.
The answers don’t come today or tomorrow. But one day, unexpectedly, we realize there was a reason for all the suffering we had to go through.
I wanted to thank you so much for your support and caring for the poorest of the poor, and the suffering.
I wanted to thank you for your donation. When Ms.Poddar told me about the donation I told her to bring it to me right away.
I wanted to pass on your good deeds on behalf of your husband, Mr.Khosla so that he can receive the blessing.
And you and your family can receive healing.
I did not know your husband, Mr.Khosla, until Wednesday night when I received a text message.
Right away I responded that I would like to come and pay my respects.
Mother Teresa of
I followed GOD and the poorest of the poor in need of mercy,
and the suffering. And, this is my world. I love to be among the suffering.
Dear Mrs.Khosla, with all my heart I feel your pain and suffering. But believe me, these are the most incredible times when we become so close to GOD.
And He is watching you. Please understand we all love you very much and we are here for you for anything you need. We are at your service.
I personally doubled up your donation and this is one of the ways that your donation for Mr.Khosla’s loss is going to save someone’s life. And it is one of GOD’s miracles.
I have a friend named
used to work at the circus and he knows how to make balloon animals and
shapes. Ms.Poddar wanted to come with me
on her birthday to serve our homeless suffering man on our
And he touched her heart by making a few balloons for her birthday.
Again, Ms.Poddar and Mrs.Ganesh brought
the Grade 9 alumni students to
It put smiles on all the children’s faces.
I have been seeing
one night, it was very cold (-25 or -30 degrees). I went to a coffee shop, saw
When he said that, it put a smile on my face. And I asked him, “What have you been praying for?” He said, “I have been praying for the weather to get warmer.
I am an old man, and it’s so cold. I can’t sleep outside.” His prayer took my smile away.
Although he helped me a few times, I did nothing about it. But I prayed for him.
On Monday, we had a Children for Charity
KSN (Kids with Special Needs) that came from another school,
But finally, after all the activities, presents, pizza and Coke, the best joy they had was when our poorest of the poor,
a man sleeping on the sidewalk, forgotten
by society –
The kids were so excited and happy. They were yelling and screaming to receive one of the balloons - a sword, or puppy, or heart or
While he was making the children happy, I
was thinking of
But when I came and saw Mr.Khosla lying
down, and felt your suffering, my heart and prayers were with you. When Ms.Poddar told me about your donation, I
thought of you volunteering with the children and
It was -20 degrees at 3:00 in the
morning. I went to pick
You see, your good deeds for Mr.Khosla
touched my heart, so that I have actually made a decision to bring
GOD’s peace will be with you, our beautiful Mrs.Khosla, and your family.
In GOD We Trust
2nd Letter form SC
Mr. Khosla’s miracle grew and grew for the poorest of the poor in need of mercy.
This is ABBAS from
I just wanted to update you about the homeless man that you saved not only his life but also answered his prayers.
Since last week
Unfortunately due to winter we cannot work outside and I have been paying John’s rent in a(n) direct/indirect way. I did not have enough budget to keep him on and this is one of my hardest challenges, to create finance for the homeless guys to pay for their salaries, rent, food. It is quite a challenge for me. Two weeks ago I told John that he has to find a place because I have to rent the apartment but on the other hand I knew he had spent all of the money I had given him and he had no place to go. The thing about John is that he has a 38 year old son with kids and a 28 year old daughter with kids, and he is a grandfather. His children and grandchildren do not know that he is homeless.
A big part of me could not let him go because he has done such beautiful good deeds for others and on the other hand, I am responsible to balance the half-million dollar budget for my 1st manager’s finance. I rented one of the apartments.
Last week I brought
I also was touched with GOD’s way of
miracles again through Mr. Khosla and I invested in
Because of that investment now he has a
job with my other company and he applied for transportation and I filled out
the disability form for the city of
received the metro pass.
Our dear Mrs. Khosla and family, I have been praying for you.
And this particular donation carried on so much blessing and is going to feed so many hungry and homeless people that have been forgotten by our society.
I feel Mr. Khosla’s blessing in my heart with how everything just worked out in such a beautiful way.
GOD bless you and your family.
In GOD We Trust
3rd Letter form SC
Mr. Khosla’s miracle grew and grew for the poorest of the poor in need of mercy.
This cross is a gift made by
After a few days, he made me one of the
crosses and I had a SC team leader with me and he also gave her one. I gave my
cross to a parking guy at the back, he is
She was touched by
It just amazes me, this is not a balloon
or any other type of item
But it is a cross he made,
a symbol of
GOD and peace in Christianity.
GOD and peace be with you Mrs. Khosla.
In GOD We Trust
On the night of the OrphanAid event we
were selling raffle tickets.
I was so shocked and happy to see that,
again, out of ALL OF THE PEOPLE that came that night He Won the prize. What are
the odds? It was most significant that
What is so incredible is that
That night there were more miracles to
Earlier in the evening before the event I
It was such magical night and part of the SC Friday Team and the SC. C4C VP. came to support the beautiful cause.
With the SC-C4C VP, I spent time trying to explain that if we lead the children to understand by bringing them among the poorest of the poor, they will FEEL the NEED and suffering and serving will come naturally.
During the night I was also trying so hard to explain to my Friday crew how necessary it is that we be among the poorest of the poor because we constantly get pulled by life in different directions, and the poorest of the poor end up at the bottom of our list and other things take priority. We simply are not the poorest of the poor, we do not have the problems and concerns that they have. We are blessed by having people among us and to have simple necessities like a bed, washroom, shower, food, and pocket money. To not have $1 to buy coffee is not something we are concerned with therefore we are responsible to serve the poorest of the poor and suffering. The more we put ourselves among them, the more we receive their blessings.
Right after the show
who helped him by letting him stay at her
house. Prior to that night she had spent a few days crying, she had found out
she did not accept the gift. In continuing the act of giving,
I tried to explain to him that it is his prize and he should keep it but I knew inside that he has so much to give so I accepted his gift.
In the end I received ‘Maryam’s GREEN touch’ back
It was all so amazing. This simple GREEN candy started with a beautiful story in Mumbai and turned into a GREEN MIRACLE and is now sitting in my office.
I was so pleased with Robert’s work for the event. He was so strong, despite being sick, to blow up all of the balloons for charity.
No one can blow up the balloons like him, all my staff and volunteers have tried but no one has succeeded to blow up even one.
Earlier that night while I was with
members of my SC Soup kitchen Friday Team, we dropped $20 dollars in Robert’s
donation jar for his balloons. Who would have known that later that night $20
was also just what Robert needed. Right before I left to go out that night at
That night when I went out to serve the suffering men and women I was thanking GOD the whole night for such an incredible day filled with Miracles. And as usual, it was a beautiful night. It had rained throughout the day but when it was time to serve the rain had stopped. For three years I have been going out at 2 a.m. to serve and not once have I gotten wet with rain, the rain always stops for the poorest of the poor.
Chapter: GREEN supper & Fred
Every night that I go out to serve there is a Tim Horton’s that I stop at to buy coffee and food for the homeless.
I have met some of my most special friends, Robert, Tony, Victor, Fred and others at that Tim Horton’s and I always have friends waiting for me there every night
when I arrive just after 3 a.m..
This Saturday night was extra special.
This Saturday night, like every night, I was sitting having a chicken noodle soup with the number one person closest to my heart, Fred.
Fred is 70 years old, homeless and has the best hair ever. He has a full head of golden brown hair that he trims himself. I remember the first moment I noticed his hair when he took his hat off, I realized my own wisdom. My own salt and pepper hair has way more salt then pepper.
Fred is such a good friend. He always sleeps standing up at the same place and never begs or asks for money despite his hunger. He and another man Kevin that sleeps close by are always looking out for each other. If one has eaten they offer the other a sandwich and are often trying to convince each other to go to the church basement for a good meal. We can all learn how to share from the homeless. Fred had his CBC debut with me last December. You can see him at
Every night when I arrive at Tim Horton’s Fred is waiting for me.
When he sees me he says ‘Hi ABBAS, I have been waiting for you’ and every time it touches my heart.
For years we have been sitting down and eating chicken noodle soup together at the same Tim Horton’s.
I say the same joke. He loves hot chocolate and butter. Our joke goes like this,
I say, ‘Fred, do you know what the Japanese call butter?’
He replies with ‘what?’.
I say, ‘Butta’. Then I say, ‘Fred do you know what the Japanese call Jam?’
He replies again with ‘what?’,
And I say ‘Jama’.
And every night when I leave Tim Horton’s he gives me the same wave salute goodbye.
So that night when Fred and I were sitting eating our chicken noodle soup Robert walked in.
Actually Robert suddenly came in and he was SO HAPPY.
He told me that with the $20 I had given him earlier he bought TTC tokens and a $1 lottery ticket. And with that lottery ticket, he won $200.
He kept saying over and over how happy he was, and every time he said it, it lifted up my heart. But then he did something so special.
He went up to the person behind the counter at the coffee shop and gave them a $5 tip.
Robert is not very well and has a difficult life. He is blind in his left eye and walks with a walking stick and lived on the streets. And as mentioned before, now he is very sick.
Robert has cancer and is going for chemotherapy treatment. But despite all of his misfortunes, Robert mastered the gift of giving.
As Robert continued to receive he just kept on giving.
Intense love does not measure, it just gives. “Mother Teresa“
Chapter: GREEN DOOR
For the past 5 years, I’ve been coming to
These children are in great suffering, not only is there a great struggle to feed the emptiness of hunger, but the greater emptiness of love.
The government does not recognize them as citizens, and they have absolutely no identity.
You can only understand and feel their emotions if you have been put through similar circumstances. Otherwise, the rest is just imagination.
But for all these children to experience these survival challenges and unwanted negative forces it is quite inhumane and creates a lot of anxiety.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
So I came with my beautiful friends in charity to serve the poorest of the poor here and when they read the first draft of the GREEN Miracles story,
they were quite touched. They decided that we should all wear GREEN
t-shirts instead of the
So we all wore green and off we went to serve the poorest of the poor.
I knew from the bottom of my heart, my Lord would provide GREEN miracles.
So I rented a car, and the ladies packed up the goods that I brought.
They packed an incredible gift bag for young kids with school supplies
(pencils, pens, erasers, sharpeners and paper), toys, some clothing,
and a bag with a Canadian flag.
And off we went.
The FIRST person that we served was a pregnant, Haitian, very poor-looking woman with a big bucket being carried on her head to sell items.
We were going fast on the highway, so we passed her. But we pulled-over, stopped and turned the car around to go back in the opposite direction and then pulled her over.
She didn’t speak English. We assumed that she already had other children, so we gave her one of the gift packs, some woman’s clothing, and a donation.
When she took the basket off her head we noticed that she was selling GREEN vegetables.
So I bought all her GREEN vegetables.
And she pointed in the direction we were originally headed. A very tired, pregnant, refugee woman simply needed a ride home.
So we took her bucket, she sat in the back seat, and we gave her a ride home.
We took her to her really poor neighbourhood filled with Haitian refugees. Many of the children did not even have pants. She was so happy, that she invited us into her home.
We kind of hesitated, because we had other charity meetings to attend to, but we did not know that her invitation was GOD’s will for us to see the GREEN miracle.
So we went down a very dirty alleyway and there was the most beautiful GREEN door.
And that was the entrance to her
home. Out of all the houses
I don’t remember serving in a house that had a GREEN door.
We almost turned down her invitation but that open GREEN door had me thinking about GOD
GREEN miracles all day.
But, when we went inside, it was not GREEN. Everything looked very RED to me.
There was only one mattress over some boxes which filled the room that housed her four kids and herself.
When we went back a few days later there was no light, her home was in darkness.
We asked her where the light was and she said that she could not afford a light-bulb.
cannot believe we live in a world where the poorest of the poor’s living
conditions are much worse than that of dogs living in
Wearing GREEN t-shirts, and with a bag full of candies – some GREEN toys and clothes – some more GREEN… we left to bring GREEN miracles to the poorest of the poor.
Chapter: GREEN peas
It was Sunday. The LORD’s day.
It was just the GREEN day. I just wanted to go see the GREEN sea and pray. A day before, we had returned the vehicle and had no plans to go to Puerto Plata.
But, I received a text from my SC staff (my friends) a few rooms away saying, “Dear ABBAS, please join us for prayers in the morning.”
Although I was so tired, when I woke up, it was the perfect time before my staff was going to leave. So off we went to pray.
I dropped them off for their prayers and I went for my prayers. As soon as I entered the church, it was jam-packed.
A few people were standing at the back so I was looking for a seat.
I saw a very old woman, very dirty, and she smelt GREEN. She was asking for GREEN - “pesos, pesos”. Then I heard a loud, “Shhh!!”
from people praying while they were standing. I took the woman out and I gave her some pesos. It was such a relief for everyone.
When you need the silence to pray and people talk or disturb you, it is so annoying. But, it was just a GREEN miracle.
That the poorest of the poor who was in the LORD’s house just needed the GREEN pesos,
and the timing was just absolutely beautiful. And this is something I always pray for,
I pray, “Dear LORD, Put the poorest of the poor before me, so that I can be their servant.” So, again,
It was a GREEN miracle for me, not to go ask for GREEN miracles, but before I even got there, I received the GREEN miracles.
My prayer was answered.
It was a beautiful mass. I served three other elderly people, who were so old and poor, but they were all in my path and I gave them GREEN pesos.
I went back to pick up my friends, but their prayers were not finished.
While I was waiting, I saw a lady carrying a sac on her head.
She looked pretty RED and was wearing RED. When I helped her to unload the bag off of her head,
I could not believe how much weight, that skinny fragile, RED life-styled, poorest of the poor, woman had to carry.
I was shocked. It must have been at least 60 or 70 pounds of weight. I told her that she is going to hurt her back like this.
She told me that her neck and shoulders are hurting so much. But that Sunday, another miracle was before me.
When I put her sac down, out of all of the things that she could be selling,
she had a bag full of GREEN peas.
All my life I have been serving GOD and the poorest of the poor, I don’t remember the last time
I bought green peas.
When my friends came from their prayers, we bought all of her GREEN peas,
and divided them into individual bags to hand out.
We met some incredible people and went to a D.R. home for kids with special needs (KSN). These kids have been abandoned.
Some of them were put into a basket by their parents and left at the door when they were born.
When we arrived at the KSN orphanage, the young girl in the photo on the left was crying.
The nurses were telling us that this girl cries and cries all of the time.
So I went over and picked her up and held her really tight for a minute or so, and then she stopped crying.
I could feel her lack of love in my bones.
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger,
a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. ”Mother Teresa”
Some of the GREEN peas went to the orphaned, unwanted KSN.
The rest of the GREEN peas went to the GREEN door neighbourhood of Haitian Refugees.
Our original plan was to go to that neighbourhood to finish off our last few donations since it was our last day.
But now the GREEN peas ended up at the GREEN door, and my friends passed on their good deeds to almost 20 families.
Chapter: GREEN NEED
When we went back to the Haitian refugee neighbourhood, the people were in such Desperate Need of Mercy that it was almost impossible to control the crowd and goods.
The need was so great that they become aggressive and violent. It was so sad to see how a piece of cloth, toy or bread has such a great value to our brothers, sisters and especially the children in NEED of mercy which we do not understand the meaning of.
The aggression was so bad that the people went after SC staff and almost knocked her down for the shoes and goods. We were yelling ‘let go of the donations’.
I kept thinking of a strategy to control the crowd and aggression to distribute the goods fairly. For the first time I prayed for it to rain because I thought that if it rained,
the poorest of the poor would run into their homes, and we could pass out the goods one by one.
Unexpectedly my prayers got answered and rain, rain, rain.
So we had to wear garbage bags over our SC uniforms to continue serving.
But I learned something so valuable about serving when there is desperation with aggression. I developed a new perspective about crowd control for charity.
Rain, snow or anything else is not the answer to hope for, for better service in poverty. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.
Using a lot of discipline and researching the needs of people is vital to the genuine purity of giving and should be our priority in the first place.
And only focusing on being faithful and having the will to give with LOVE.
Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.
What we need is to love without getting tired. “Mother Teresa”
I thought of my very sophisticated crowd control house policy at el Mocambo in the security department. So I just practiced that with the Haitian refugees the next day.
We lined up everyone against the wall and I got a couple of big guys to help me say ‘nobody gets anything until you line up’.
I picked a couple of guys to go with the SC girls to pass out the goods to families and it was such great progress from the chaos of the previous days.
The service was so smooth, happy and peaceful for everyone.
It was so interesting to see how the crowd control of a music venue came to the salvation of Haitian refugees for the fair distribution of donations.
This wouldn’t have happened if the SC ladies didn’t decide to wear GREEN in the first place.
You see, good deeds and GOD’s work are contagious and carry on miracles.
All you have to do is,
Eat your GREENs, wear your GREENs,give some GREEN candies and let it grow just like GREEN leaves on a tree and wait to see the GREEN miracles.
Chapter: GREEN giving
Today somebody is suffering,
Today somebody is in the street,
Today somebody is hungry. Our work is for
Today, yesterday has gone …
Today- do not wait for
Tomorrow might not come.
Tomorrow we will not have them if we do not feed them
The framed photograph of ‘Maryam’s GREEN touch’ is a symbol of giving and now it is waiting to be given and received again.
Email me if you want to be part of Maryam’s GREEN touch for CRYING NOBODIES CHILDREN and experience
In GOD We Trust