Courtyard by Marriott Chennai kicked off the pre-Christmas festivities with a cake mixing ceremony last week. This year, the annual ceremony was special and dear to our hearts as it was conducted by Rising Star Outreach of India located in Chengalpettu district of Tamil Nadu. Rising Star Outreach is dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by leprosy through social and medical rehabilitation. Marriott Home, one of the pioneering efforts of Rising Star Outreach of India, was started in April 2004 with a small rented home for 27 children from the surrounding leper colonies. In the same year, Marriott India joined hands with Rising Star to establish a Marriott home in Chennai. The success of the home was astounding and in 2005 a second children’s home was leased and opened to 32 additional children’s colonies. Today there are 350 children in the home. India’s Rising Star Outreach, now officially recognized by the Government of India, has been praised for the high standard of care and excellence maintained at the school as children prepare to enter mainstream society.
When our team of chefs and food and beverage experts started preparing for the event at home, the kids were excited to see what we were doing. The ceremony began at 3 pm with around 100 kg of dry fruits and nuts, including walnuts, cashews, dates, apricots and pistachios, ready to be mixed together with fruit juices and syrups. Children received Santa hats and aprons to experience the cake mixing ceremony. Our Managing Director Sanjeev Mandal started the event by explaining the history of the ritual and marks the beginning of the festive season. He also added that his cake mixing ceremony is a symbol of all the good times ahead and the beginning of the season of giving with joy that nurtures the bond each team member shares with others, including the children. The event was full of lively conversations, joy, laughter and delicious healthy tea. Each child also received prepackaged goodies and refreshments to enjoy the evening.