Chennai, Dec 22: Santa Claus will usher in Christmas in the city this year not only by offering gifts to children, but also by raising funds for a humanitarian cause.
Spurred by an NGO 'Tamil Maiyam', the brainchild of a few VVIPs like parliamentarian Kanimozhi, Congressman Karti P Chidambaram and Founder Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, Christmas would be being celebrated as a 'Season of Love' - love for the deprived and the economically backward - by the organisation in the form of a carnival till December 27.
The season was kicked off by 100 Santa Clauses releasing balloons with children who participated in a spectacular music-dance medley.
A 65-foot tall Christmas tree, the tallest in the city got up for the festival, proved to be a special attraction. A seven-foot-tall Santa Claus from Finland also met the children at 'Santa House'.
The people of Chennai have been invited to the carnival with an appeal to bring gifts to the poor, orphans and destitute in the city. They would be distributed to orphanages and destitute homes.
But the 'Season of Love' had a more meaningful objective. The proceeds of the carnival would be utilised for setting up 10 care schools for children of migrant construction workers predominantly from Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and rural Tamil Nadu, scholarships for poor chidren, and mapping the homeless and people living in slums in Chennai.
With the help of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government, one lakh eco-friendly houses would be built as a sustainable habitat for them on the suburbs of the city.