NYCCHP began during Christmas of 2002, when little Arjun and Surya Garg, then 6 and 3, wanted to go around distributing bright and neatly packaged toys to children. Their mother, Dr. Madhu Powar Garg, tried to volunteer with her family at a party for homeless children and realized that not enough was being done in New York City to share the spirit of the holidays with homeless children. She then approached Antonio Rodriguez, the Director of Special Events at the Department of Homeless Services of New York City who agreed that an annual holiday event just for homeless children was needed.
By the spring of 2003, over 30 volunteers had joined Dr. Garg in her mission to treat homeless children to the most festive party possible, filled with live performances, food, gifts, and, of course, Santa. With our plan in place, we held our first event that December with 300 children from 15 shelters.
Our organization has remained a grassroots effort, fueled by the ideas and hard work of our many, many volunteers, both in the months leading up to the party and on that day. Our committee includes doctors, bankers, lawyers, accountants, artists, writers and designers, who all donate their time and resources. Each year, over 100 volunteers, who range from high school students to professionals to parents and grandparents, turn out at the party to ensure it runs smoothly. And, each year it is successful all because of the good cheer, giving spirit and full cooperation with which each person participates.
In the coming years, we would like to do much more. We hope to expand our activities so that we include all the homeless children in New York city in the age range of 6 to 14 so that no child is left out of celebrating the holidays.