Eating enough is not enough. Eating right is as important for the holistic development of humans. In order to highlight this, India observes the month of September as National Nutrition Month.
In a country where it is difficult for people to find enough to eat, finding a balanced diet is a far-fetched dream, especially amid COVID-19 where people have been hit with lack of finances and means to earn them. A balanced diet for poor households is often a luxury who rely on starchy food to beat hunger most of the times. This kind of food does not provide them with sufficient macro and micronutrients which in turn affect their mental and physical growth.
Citizens of India, who have grown up learning the virtues taught by great philanthropists such as Mahatma Gandhi, have always been participated in social welfare on an individual level in their own capacity. The CSR Journal coins such initiatives as Citizen Social Responsibility initiatives.
Some of the Citizen Social Responsibility initiatives that have been working towards providing nutritious food to the disadvantaged amid COVID-19 include:
Roti Ghar India initiative by Chinu Kwatra, Mumbai
A social activist from Mumbai, Chinu Kwatra along with his few friends started an initiative of Roti Ghar with a motto of nurturing, pampering and providing good nutritious one-time meal to more than 100 women and underprivileged children every day. The meals provided are planned with the help of dieticians and nutritionists.
Today the initiative has expanded, feeding over 10,000 people daily. It is operating out of a centralised kitchen in Thane. Roti ghar is distributing freshly cooked meals that include dal, rice and vegetable to four cities – Mumbai, Thane, Airoli, Bhiwandi. The initiative was functional even during the pandemic, feeding the unemployed underprivileged displaced labourers in the city.
During the pandemic, Roti ghar saw the plight of security guards, labourers, rag pickers and other daily wagers, suffering to meet their basic needs. These labourers often end up serving duty 24×7 so that they are not deprived of their work and money. In order to provide them some relief, Roti Ghar extended its meal programme and started serving these people.
Chennai Brothers – Corona Warriors
21-year-old Abdul Salam with his brother 19-year-old Sultan Abbas from Chennai started to serve healthy and nutritious food and ration kits to people in need, during the COVID-19 lockdown. The duo kick-started the social initiative with the support of friends and family initially and served more than 1,000 people. However, the small initiative took a big leap when they initiated a page GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform and started asking donations online for their initiative. The brothers managed to raise more than Rs. 6 lakh for the initiative and have reached out to more than 13,000 people in Chennai till date.
Brothers from Karnataka Sell Land to feed people Amid COVID-19
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nation-wide lockdown to contain COVID-19 from March 25, brothers Tajamul and Muzamil Pasha in Kolar took an exceptional step. They sold a 30*40 plot of land they owned in the town to purchase groceries and other essentials for the underprivileged.
The duo raised Rs 25 lakh from the sale, after which they tapped into a close network of friends, which includes members from all communities, to start the relief work. First, they bought groceries in bulk and stored them at their residence. Ration packets containing essential items: 10 kg rice, 1 kg all-purpose flour, 2 kg wheat, 1 kg sugar, edible oil, tea powder, spice powders, a bottle of hand sanitizer and face masks were prepared.
Then, they erected a tent in an open space next to their house and set up a community kitchen to serve food to those who can’t cook meals in their houses. The volunteers have also been given passes by the police, so they can make deliveries of the essential items on their bikes. So far Pashas have delivered free groceries to over 2,800 families, covering some 12,000 people. They have also served food to over 2,000 people.