Mission Compassion: Covid-19 Food Relief In Challenging Times
The Hit Of COVID-19
Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has led to children being further lack of nutrition support, adding to the burden of families, not able to meet ends due to dwindling livelihoods. To tide this crisis, there is an urgent need to strengthen food security and nutritional support, along with awareness on hygiene and social distancing. In the absence of timely intervention, a possible increase in the number of severely acutely malnourished children is staring us in the journey of development, who shall be disease vulnerable, attributing to lack of immunity. This could have long-lasting health and socio-economic impact for India.
Even though India had considerable economic progress over the years, hunger and poverty have prevailed in the country. Out of the total population of 1.3 billion people, 190.7 million people are undernourished. And 25 per cent of the children experience pangs of hunger. The upgrade in the socio-economic strata must start by uplifting the weaker sections so that hunger deaths can be prevented.
Post lockdown, an atmosphere of fear, insecurity and uncertainty gripped the entire world. Hunger pandemic became synonymous with coronavirus spread. Many Samaritans came forward to help feed daily meals to these needy people.
Bhavyata Foundation’s Initiative
We, at Bhavyata Foundation with our core team, felt it was a time to take a call to reach out. As a famous proverb goes, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. We better opted to donate monthly groceries and essentials to these affected people, than to provide cooked meals. And again, we found our community support in unique ways. Here’s how a family of two children motivated by our hunger-free nation initiative helped us in raising funds.
Mr Samrat Dasgupta, a Corporate Professional hailing from Mumbai, decided to host a charity Rock n Pop concert involving his two children, Mallika and Kanishk to play some cover versions of their favourite music through his YouTube channel and received a tremendous response from the across sections of the society.
Our on-field volunteers were the lifeline of the distribution of essentials across the country. This included many red and containment zones, went way ahead to make this initiative reach out to the last mile. A couple (above 60 years of age) with a blind husband and, wife Indira Hari Rawat struggling to pay for rent and food, who used to segregate plastics in Kabaadkhaanaa, hailing from Dharavi said to one of our volunteers, Neelam “I was feeling so helpless. I fear that hunger may kill many like us before Covid-19,” while receiving delivery of grocery kits. Their distress was full of agony and hunger.”
Pandemic And Asia’s Largest Slum
Social distancing is not a choice in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, spread over 2.1 sq km. It houses 7 lakh people in small shanties stacked next to each other. As per guidelines of NITI Aayog, our volunteers also have even spent hours educating the communities in urban Mumbai. Mostly to adhere to norms of social distancing, the importance of sanitizations and ways to overcome psychological barriers and stigma. This initiative significantly impacted the lives of daily wage workers, those with informal jobs, maids, street vendors and all rural & urban poor.
Torchbearers of Six Sigma, dispatching tiffins to the majority of Mumbai, the famous ‘’Dabbawalas’’, have themselves become subdued with the plight of hunger and agony. The irony of the circumstances has transformed meal givers to meal seekers. Many distraught families are languishing in need of help due to the massive economic downturn. Bhavyata Foundation is committed to supporting vulnerable population with nutrition, protection by hygiene and sanitation.
Mrs Bhagyashree Chandramohan Telkar, who helps her husband to run a small tailoring shop, said they were unable to pay their only co-worker and had to stop the business in the lockdown. Their family residing in Indira Nagar, Ghatkopar West. They had to sleep empty stomach for four days as stated by one of our volunteer Sureka Dilip Gunjan.
“Alka Gharshi, belonging to Banganga, Mumbai, who didn’t lit up her stove till afternoon. The day provided in addition to that grocery kit hastily started preparing food for her 3 children. Her husband had undergone heart bypass surgery before lockdown, which ate up the majority of their savings. And this lockdown didn’t allow him to re-join the factory, thus creating huge financial distress for the family.”
The Consistent Efforts
Bhavyata Foundation has undertaken efforts to reach out to needy families and daily wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has till now created an everlasting impact in the Maximum city of Mumbai and across six other zones (Thane, Palghar, Meerut, Delhi, Gadhchiroli and Aurangabad) in the country by impacting lives of 10,030 families (around 50,150 needy people till date), in two months through the distribution of grocery kits, each containing the monthly essentials.
“Kalurama Kare survive as an optional labourer (as he had crossed 60 years of age) in Karepada. He was overwhelmed to see the consignment of grocery kit by Bhavyata foundation under the arms of Mr Tulsiram Das. It was beyond his imagination as tears rolled down his eyes because their community has been starving for a week. It was found that the whole community was undernourished. And has recently been unwell due to unavailability of clean water and their isolation from the mainstream village area.”
We remain indebted to our numerous volunteers, who are continuously reaching out to the needy ones, having imbibed Bhavyata Foundation’s mission as their driving force. Bhavyata Foundation remains thankful to all the supporters and well-wishers.