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Mother-son distribute 22,000 free meals to the needy during Covid-19, say they are paying forward a kindness once received

Together they have "been able to distribute over 22,000 meals, 55,000 rotis and 6000 home made sweets" during Covid-19, Harsh Mandavia told Humans of Bombay recently.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 10, 2021 11:23:28 am
covid heroes, mother son duo feed needy daily, Mumbai restaurant feed poor for free, mother son feed poor during pandemic, good news, viral news, indian express newsThe duo have been feeding the needy for almost a year now. (Source: Humans of Bombay/ Facebook)

Even though people are going through a tough time amid the pandemic, it’s kind gestures shown by strangers that has kept us going. Now, a mother-son duo in Mumbai is winning hearts as they feed the needy for free amid such trying times, reaffirming people’s faith in humanity.

Heena Mandavia and son Harsh in Mumbai have opened their hearts and started to feed the needy, operating from their restaurant’s kitchen. They started during the first lockdown and now even in the second wave, the duo, along with a few other volunteers, have raised a few lakhs to feed around 100-150 people everyday. Together they have “been able to distribute over 22,000 meals, 55,000 rotis and 6000 home made sweets,” Harsh told Humans of Bombay recently.

In 2020, when first lockdown was announced, a customer called then and asked if they will be able to feed 100 people for him. “At first, I was worried for our safety, but then I thought, ‘We need to help others’,” the young man told the popular social media page. But Harsh says it would have been impossible to do so without the generous donations from people around the world.

“Those days, we were not making much money but our hearts were full. And when the second wave hit us, I posted a callout again. In just 2 days, we received 1.5 lakhs in donations,” the post going viral across platforms read.

However, the son said it’s just a way to pay it forward for all the help and kindness they had received in their early days. Harsh, who lost his father at the age of five, recalled how his mother started a tiffin service from home to run the household and raise him single-handedly. “The first order was placed by an aunty living nearby -– Maa made Rs.35; that was her first income,” he said. When business picked up while his mother used to cook and he would deliver food from door to door.”

He recalled how his mother wanted to get him admitted to an international school for a better future but struggled. However, thanks to a kind stranger — director of the school — his fees were completely waived off. As he continued to work hard in school, his mother relentlessly worked in the kitchen.

Cut to a few years later, one kind stranger invested some money to help them rent a space and start her commercial kitchen, that’s how ‘Harsh Thali and Parathas’ came into existence in 2003. After he completed his studies and started to help his mother to run the business, he wanted to repay the money to the investor and the director. However, both refused and asked him to pay it forward — and that’s exactly what they have been doing throughout the pandemic.

Sometimes, when asked, why he is risking their lives for strangers, he said, “I think of the time when strangers have helped us get to where we are today. And even if one of them had thought, ‘Isme mera kya fayda?’, Maa and I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Read the full post here:

For a year the duo have been cooking with love and serving the city’s most vulnerable citizens and inspiring others to help their cause as well.

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