#IndiaGives: NGOs Provide Grocery for Elderly, Food for Poor and Other Essentials in COVID-19 Lockdown
In India, the poor are always an afterthought. It seems strange, given that it is a country where millions of people live in extreme poverty, but that is how things have always been. And, it wasn't any different on Tuesday night either, when the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown for a period of 21-days to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The decision, although necessary, wasn't inclusive of many marginalised sections of the society like daily wage labourers, the homeless population, beggars, slum-dwellers, several low-income groups as well as the elderlies who live alone. Also, as we enter the lockdown phase it is becoming increasingly evident that the true challenge for such people won't be to evade the coronavirus but just to get enough food to stay alive. In fact, economists like Jean Dreze claims that the recession we are dreading in future is already here for such informal section workers.
As the privileged section of the society panicked and hoarded up for their Netflix and chill sessions at home during the lockdown, many remained blithely oblivious to the fact that thanks to their hoarding, food prices are skyrocketing. Which means most informal sector workers, who do not have any job right now and are perhaps stuck in a city where they are migrant labourers and therefore have no home, will soon not have the money to feed themselves the bare minimum required to stay alive.
State governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and a few others have announced special packages and relief funds for such individuals. Today, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to help the poor of the country navigate through these bad times. However, state and central government efforts alone will not be enough. Therefore, it is important, for citizens, civic bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as industry leaders, to come together to help the marginalised section.
So far, some NGOs and companies have shown great enterprise and tried to ease the distress of marginalised individuals during the lockdown. Listed here are few NGOs and companies which have started campaigns to gather funds for the poor, or organised volunteer services to help elderly citizens.
1. Zomato's Feeding India
The food delivery giant may not be getting as many orders online at the current moment, but they are trying to make sure that daily wage workers of India and their families don't go without food during the lockdown. Zomato has started an initiative called 'Feeding India' to collect funds to get food supplies for such workers in collaboration with various Indian NGOs. So far, they have raised Rs 6 crore.
Learn more about the campaign here: https://www.zomato.com/blog/feed-daily-wager
2. Uday Foundation
This NGO aims at providing 100000 hand wash, 100000 sanitizers, and deliver a month-long food supply to 50000 people with the funds they raise for homeless people. Their fund donation page on their website reads:
"Homeless are hardly aware of the dangers of Coronavirus and the solutions available to fight against it. The current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak continues to spread, with growing numbers of confirmed cases in India. This makes lakhs of homeless living on the streets with lack of ability to self- quarantine, access to medical care acutely vulnerable. Uday Foundation is providing all necessary help and services to this vulnerable section of the society in the time of crisis."
Here's the link to the donation page: https://www.udayfoundation.org/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/
3. Give India
Give India is an online donation platform through which one can donate money to verified NGOs and beneficiaries. The platform has two featured mission related to coronavirus that one can donate for. The first one is for daily wage earners affected by the lockdown for which the goal is to raise Rs 1,50,00,000 and the second one is to provide hygiene kits for the poor for which the aim is to raise Rs 10,00,000.
Here are the links to the donation pages:
Link 1: https://indiafightscorona.giveindia.org/
Link 2: https://indiafightscorona.giveindia.org/prevention-kit/
4. Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action - YUVA
This NGO has been giving food to the slum dwellers and needy individuals amid coronavirus outbreak. They conducted a survey recently and identified households which are in desperate need of help -- like families of icecream walas, garland makers, waste collectors etcetera. However, their food services have been affected by the strict lockdown in Mumbai. on their Facebook page they recently posted:
"Thanks for supporting #TogetherWeCan. We've reached 688 households already. We are awaiting permission before we can do more emergency relief, given the #Maharashtra curfew announcement. We are actively speaking with the govt for this #COVIDー19."
Here's the link of the NGO's Facebook page for volunteer work and/or donation: https://www.facebook.com/YUVAINDIA84/
Goonj is a Delhi based NGO that has started bracing for the aftermath of the pandemic and collecting donations for relief work. On the website of NGO, it says that the amount collected will be used to provide daily wage workers with essentials like 'dry ration, and personal care material.' The target is to reach out to over a million people (2 lac families) in areas well known for migration and in geographies, Goonj is already working in.
Here's the link to Goonj's donation page: https://goonj.org/support-covid-19-affected#
6. Action For Pune Development
Senior citizens about 70, who need groceries and medicines, are being helped by volunteers of Action For Pune Development. Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out to them on Facebook, or Instagram.
Here's the link: https://www.instagram.com/apdindia/
7. Samvedna Senior Care
A Delhi based Eldercare, nursing and attendant care and counselling services for senior citizens have also offered their mental health experts who can be contacted if senior citizens experience anxiety issues due to the lockdown.
here's the detail: https://twitter.com/SamvednaSeniorC/status/1242846898345480192
8. Janta Rasoi
The kitchens of Shanghai Surprise, a cloud kitchen based in DLF 3 in Gurgaon, is currently functioning as the centre of the community-led initiative ‘Janta Rasoi’ which is offering food to the daily wagers who are out of work due to the lockdown. From 150 meals a day they have reached 300 meals a day and plans to grow to 3000 meals a day (their capacity to produce is maximum 3000 portions of Khichdi a day).
For donations visit: https://www.facebook.com/ShanghaiSurprise.in/