Mumbai Steps Up: 6,200 Ration Kits for the Poor, 9000 Meals for Police and Doctors

Coronavirus

Mumbai Steps Up: 6,200 Ration Kits for the Poor, 9000 Meals for Police and Doctors

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

While the country continues to grapple with the corona pandemic, for India’s poorest of the poor the nightmare begins with a threat to basic survival. With the lockdown being extended by another 19 days, that vulnerability has only heightened further.

But during these distressing times, hope is not a fleeting thought when the likes of NGOs and aid volunteers put forth their efforts to help maintain a sense of normalcy as far as possible.

During the early days of the lockdown, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), a Mumbai-based non-profit development organisation, reached out to low-income groups and marginalised families, to assess the situation and offer support amid the crisis. The group was quick to put together ration kits and have them distributed to the people. “Since we started about three weeks ago, we have done around 6,200 dry ration kits till date,” Juveca Panda, who, along with Poorna Patel Soni and Namit Soni, began the fundraising campaign ‘Together We Can: Spread Love Not Corona,’” told News18 in a conversation. The organisation has also maintained their advocacy efforts with the government to take forward demands of these vulnerable communities.

The campaign also extends to healthcare personnel, police officials, and other essential workers who continue to man the frontlines in our battle against the virus by risking their own health to keep us safe. On realising that the officials were beyond overburdened with the rise in Covid-19 cases, having to work days and nights on end and not being able to go home or have proper meals, YUVA went on to partner with Blue Sea Catering.

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Trying to facilitate for tens of thousands of people isn’t a small task.

YUVA

“[Blue Sea Catering] actually opened up its entire venue in Worli and set up a kitchen to create meal boxes,” informed Panda. “We started doing about 9,000 daily meals for the police force and government hospitals. Soon after, we also started getting relief requests for migrant labourers in areas where there was no access to food or water.”

As part of the campaign, the crew is also working to aid the stranded migrant labourers across Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, and Bhiwandi, Thane. The volunteers have also set up another kitchen at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Sports Stadium and provides 12,000 freshly cooked meals each day to the stranded labourers.

To date “Together We Can: Spread Love Not Corona” has managed to serve 85,000 meals to migrant labourers in the city. By scaling up their relief work the group functions to provide people with the required immediate relief that may not be easily accessible to them.

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To date “Together We Can: Spread Love Not Corona” has managed to serve 85,000 meals to migrant labourers in the city.

YUVA

However, trying to facilitate for tens of thousands of people isn’t a small task. As the situation rapidly escalates, providing immediate relief, aid and support to help sustain is important. YUVA’s fundraising efforts are currently ongoing, with an aim to raise 2.5 crores to help those in need.

The funds raised will be used to:

  • Supply monthly kits to the urban poor across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
  • Provide daily cooked meals for police personnel and government hospital staff.
  • Distribute emergency relief to stranded migrant labourers.
  • Provide a safety kit for each volunteer.

“We have raised about 1.5 crore as of today and we are looking to continue fund-raising so that we can sustain these relief efforts,” adds Panda.

To lend a helping hand to aid the volunteers, you can do your bit and contribute here.

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