Inspired by Swamishri's personal appeal and out of genuine concern for the victims of the recent Orissa supercyclone, around 1550 devotees, men and women, young and old, shrugged off all feelings of embarrassment to help raise money for the disaster fund. In London's wet and windy conditions, with temperatures often below freezing, the dedicated volunteers spent 8 hours a day for 14 days, from 11 to 24 December 1999 appealing for funds. Having obtained approval from the local authorities, to conduct a public appeal, Sadhu Atmaswarupdas with a core team of sadhus and devotees spearheaded the whole campaign. Volunteers would arrive at the mandir in Neasden by 6.15 a.m. Then they would be grouped and be assigned to certain streets, shopping precincts or underground tube stations. Equipped with warm clothing, placards, donation boxes and most important of all, their enthusiasm, they would arrive at their designated location. Each member of the group would then find a strategic location from where maximum public exposure was possible. Then in a raised voice they would repeat the appeal slogans and encourage passers-by to donate for the cause. And the response of the public was overwhelmingly generous. Volunteers reported instances of some people emptying the entire contents of their purse or wallet into the box. Some people would specially stop their car and call the volunteers over and contribute. Young children would ask their parents for money to put in the box. There were several occasions where people who had no cash with them would withdraw money using their credit card and then donate. Also, many admired and gave on seeing aged devotees, some in their 80's, appealing enthusiastically in such cold weather. There were also those who questioned the volunteers. But on receiving convincing answers about the genuine, selfless and cost-effective work of the BAPS, many gave more willingly; while others sent cheques to the mandir later. Seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers, the Station Manager at Piccadilly Circus, made an announcement over the public address system, encouraging the public to donate. In Kensington, police officer P.C. Johnson was impressed by the volunteers' discipline and the smooth organization and commented, "I have not seen an organization as good as yours. You are all so disciplined and I feel proud to see people in their youth serving like this with smiling faces. Truly your work is unique and your planning is wonderful." In addition to the volunteers on location, there was a sizeable team of devotees working in the background. The Catering Department worked hard to prepare and deliver hot snacks and drinks for the volunteers on location. The security team moved from location to location ensuring that there were no problems. And the accounts department worked daily upto 2.00 a.m. balancing the day's transactions and preparing boxes and placards for the next day. Children, who were not allowed to go on location enthusiastically helped in a variety of ways at the mandir. Overall, it was a tremendous team effort, in which youths from BAPS centres outside London also came to spend several days helping. Apart from this public appeal, money for the fund was raised in many other ways. Several schools and community groups had made Christmas collections to donate to charity. On hearing of the BAPS appeal, they generously donated their collections to the Sanstha's appeal fund. Many youths contacted their friends via email and raised donations. Office workers collected contributions from their colleagues and superiors. Businessmen appealed to their business associates who kindly obliged. Thus, the desire to please Swamishri and give support to the BAPS volunteers actually working in the devastated conditions of the cyclone-hit areas of Orissa provided continual motivation to all. We congratulate everyone involved for their sincere and selfless efforts and the public for their extremely generous contributions. Well done!

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