The unprecedented lockdown across India due to the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness the plight of migrant and daily-wage labourers during a crisis. Having left their homes, and often their families, they travel far to make a living, to survive and provide for their families back home. And when the country locked down they were left without a livelihood, no savings, no access to food, nowhere to live, and no way to get home. All over the country they were stuck, desperate and often setting out on foot to make the long journey back to where they came from.
With The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s ongoing mission to eradicate hunger in India, on the commencement of the lockdown, we started food relief efforts using our network of kitchens and delivery vehicles. From essential grocery kits, to cooked meals and food packets, we have served over 5 crore meals in 50 days across India, through the lockdown. And a huge amount of credit goes to our staff and volunteers who went all out, every day to make sure fewer people went hungry.
Here’s what our volunteer Ashish Kumar D R, a Civil Engineer at Core Committee member at Neravu Trust had to say, “The COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us in a difficult situation requiring us to stay home to stay safe. However, this situation has proved to be much harder on one section of society who don’t have access to even essential items needed for their livelihood. Akshaya Patra along with AIKYA* stepped up and took the initiative to ensure that these essentials rightly reach the ones in need. I realize that each kit would make a difference in the homes it reaches and I’m grateful that I could join hands and contribute my bit in this time of need. Managing hundreds of volunteers isn’t an easy task, but AIKYA has been doing a great job at this, taking all necessary precautions and following the safety guidelines. It’s a satisfying lifetime experience for me here.”
We want to thank every volunteer, like Ashish, who braved a pandemic to make sure that vulnerable communities did not starve through the lockdown.
*AIKYA is the youth volunteering arm of Akshaya Patra.