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Pune reaches out to feed the hungry, the stranded, the homeless

Pune is reaching out to the underprivileged as the lockdown, which was preceded by the Janata Curfew as well as the restrictions imposed by the state government, leaves thousands without work, home and food.

Written by Dipanita Nath | Pune |
March 27, 2020 8:42:47 pm
pune homeless, pune homeless people, homeless people in pune, homeless people pune, pune government, india news, Indian Express The groups are open to help from people of Pune, either financially or in the form of food and water bottles.

As India shut down for Janata Curfew last Sunday, Sagar Ambadas Avhad sent a message to the houses in his society: “Can we make two rotis extra for those who do not have food?” One hundred families responded with food packets. As a result, a number of beggars, labourers and homeless people had their first meal in days.

News of the initiative has spread online and Avhad, who works as a correspondent with a regional television channel, and his companions have started collecting food from 350 families for distributing among the hungry on the road and slums. It is a routine that they intend to continue throughout the 21-day lockdown.

Karishma Dabrai, a home chef, is worried about her elderly relatives in Mumbai so she is doing the next best thing — cooking for senior citizens here. With her husband helping her, she packs and delivers roti, rice, sabji and salad with mild oil and spices to two seniors who have recently been operated upon. She is open for orders from ill and senior people only, each meal priced at Rs 150.

Her new project is to deliver food, for free, to watchmen and others who are hungry on the streets. “I wear gloves and masks because everybody has to be careful in the time of COVID-19,” she says.

Pune is reaching out to the underprivileged as the lockdown, which was preceded by the Janata Curfew as well as the restrictions imposed by the state government, leaves thousands without work, home and food.

Fardeen Shaikh and his fellow students are making nearly 300 packets of food and “offering everybody who is out on the streets”. Their main centre of activity is the Pune railway station, where they have met people who are stuck in transit.

“These were groups which were returning home from Goa and found themselves stranded at Pune station. They were not poor and had money, but no restaurants were open. They were grateful for the food,” says Shaikh.

The group also distributes food in Camp and parts of the main city. “We have come across policemen who were patrolling the city in vans and bikes, and were hungry. We told them that the food was cooked in our hotel and packed hygienically, and they accepted it,” says Shaikh, urging people to contact them if they see a hungry person in their neighbourhood. “If you know any person in need, please let us know,” he says.

The groups are open to help from people of Pune, either financially or in the form of food and water bottles.

Aniket Prabhu of the Thergaon Social Foundation says that the number of Pune residents contacting them has been increasing. “What we have seen is that people want to help. Our organisation does not accept money but contributions can be made in the form of food items or ingredients such as oil and vegetables,” he says.

On Friday, he visited labour colonies, the homes of differently-abled people and students with 52 lunch packets and, in the evening, with 63 dinners.

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