Throughout the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the country and continues to do so, we have seen several good samaritans stepping up and helping people in need. Countless stories of strangers going out of their way to show kindness to those in need continue to restore our faith in humanity. One such story that has recently caught the attention of netizens is about a mother-son duo in Mumbai who has been feeding free meals to the needy amidst the crisis.
Heena Mandavia and son Harsh started feeding the needy right from the first lockdown last year. It was when one of their customers told them that he wanted to feed 100 people during the first lockdown that the initiative began. Harsh told Humans of Bombay, “Maa and I prepared 100 dabbas and distributed it to the poor for free. I put up a post online saying that we were accepting orders–people from all over donated money. Maa and I would feed 150 people every day. We weren’t making much money but our hearts were full.”
When the second wave hit the country, Harsh and his mother through their fundraiser received Rs 1.5 lakhs in donations in just two days and began to feed more people. “So far, we’ve been able to distribute over 22,000 meals and 55,000 rotis. Once when we were at an old age home, an uncle placed his hands on my head and said, ‘Aashirwad’. It was surreal,” Harsh told Humans of Bombay.
While Harsh and Heena have been saviours for many during these tough times, things have not been easy for them either. Harsh lost his father at a very young age and it was his mother who started a tiffin service from home and raise him single-handedly. Harsh said, “Maa was confident she’d raise me single-handedly. She’d say, ‘I’ll make sure you have the best education’.”
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Harsh said, “Sometimes, when people ask me, ‘Why are you risking your lives for strangers?’ I think of the time when strangers have helped us get to where we are today.”