Free meals to COVID families in Delhi NCR by volunteers
Is there a COVID patient at home? And is the family unable to cook? Help is now at hand for those who live in Delhi/NCR. A group of volunteers led by Faridabad housewife Nisha Chopra, who has made her phone number public, is coordinating efforts to deliver home-cooked, vegetarian meals at the doorstep. Free.
The only condition, says Mrs Chopra, is for the beneficiary to give a pledge that after they recover, they too would join the effort. Since volunteers offer to cook for families in the vicinity and deliver at their own cost, they are able to deliver the service, explains the lady. By the third week of November, there are a thousand volunteers spread across Delhi-NCR (including Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram).
She herself faced hardship when her husband tested positive earlier this year, she recalls. Even friends, neighbours and relatives kept their distance, unwilling to come in contact. While the fear of COVID kept them away, Nisha and her husband, an executive with Airtel, suffered. She was also hurt by the insensitivity and the absence of a support system. Hence her resolve to do something about it.
Initially she started on her own, aided by her domestic help. She would drive herself and deliver meals-simple, wholesome—once a day between 1 pm and 6 pm. Then her friends joined in and now it has become a movement of sorts and is growing. It seems a perfect model to follow by neighbourhoods and Resident Welfare Associations and gated communities.
She and her friends decide who would cook what and for how many people on a given day. Someone cooks rice, someone else a vegetable and a third lentil—so that none of them is unduly burdened.
She calls it ‘Devotional Drive”, she mentioned to National Herald on Sunday. There were people who offered to help monetarily, she recalls. But the ‘service model’ works better and has fewer complications, she feels. The word spread on WhatsApp. Her message was passed on from one group to another. She made her own phone number 98108 06449 public. The phone now rings incessantly from early in the morning, she admits.
She also makes a conscious effort to ensure that a volunteer is tasked with delivering meals in the locality on just one day in a week or fortnight or in a month. The next day some other volunteer takes up the responsibility. Each volunteer on an average supplies meals to 20 homes. Special needs are also taken care of and diabetics are not supplied potatoes and those who do not want rice, are supplied with bread.
“It is like feeding unexpected guests coming home. We all do take the trouble of feeding them. We also do this in the same spirit.”