Work with officials on lockdown restrictions to feed the needy

As the government's 21-day lockdown continues, it has affected the lives of all people, especially migrant labourers and homeless people. Social organisations and NGOs are stepping up their efforts to continue to deliver "essential services" to the needy.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a social organisation, has decided to aid the government’s efforts by providing food relief in various locations across the country.

The agency said it will be initiating these efforts through its network of kitchens whilst working closely with the centre as well as state governments and other civic administrations.

The agency is already working with other NGOs to implement food relief efforts across various locations. Cooked meals have already been provided in Jaipur and Ajmer (Rajasthan), Hyderabad (Telangana), Pune (Maharashtra) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) by the organisation.

As India enters its fourth day of the 21-day lockdown, the number of positive cases has crossed 900. Apart from Akshaya Patra, crowd-funding platform Milap has also opened a window for daily workers affected by Covid-19.

"The financial impact, especially on families that survive on daily income - labourers, domestic help, taxi drivers, restaurant waiters, beauticians/hairdressers have been far-reaching. This crowdfunding initiative by Milaap is to highlight citizen initiatives carried out to mitigate the economic crisis faced by vulnerable families as well as support those who are in the frontline with the monetary resources they deserve," Milap said on its website.

Rahat Covid-19 programme

Delhi-headquartered social organisation Goonj has has also initiated a programme called 'Rahat Covid-19' to ensure comprehensive family kits of essentials, including dry ration and personal care materials to two lakh areas that are particularly known for migrant labourers.

With the proactive support of corporate partners, individual donors and motivated volunteers who have selflessly come forward at this hour of need, Akshaya Patra said in a statement it would strive to comfort people, either through cooked meals or through food relief kits.

As the implementing partner of the government’s flagship Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme, Akshaya Patra is committed and tasked with the responsibility of providing wholesome meals to children. The agency's local units are to follow the directions of the concerned authorities so that nutrition can be delivered to children in the most feasible manner.

The agency is also arranging for food relief kits to be distributed across Bengaluru (Karnataka) and other locations. These kits will comprise of items such as rice/flour, tur dal/mung dal, chana, sunflower oil, spices such as turmeric, jeera, and dhaniya powder, sambar masala/garam masala, and pickle. They will also contain vegetables with longer shelf-life, such as potatoes and pumpkins.

The agency has noted that each of these food kits will be sufficient to prepare two meals a day for an adult for about 21 days.

In a statement, Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “Akshaya Patra has always strived to assist the government’s efforts and bring relief to people during crises. Our efforts are driven by the earnest hope that the situation will improve soon and normalcy returns. Until then, we will continue to work together and serve the people in need.”