I vividly remember the 25th of March the day the lockdown was imposed; quite a few small-time businesses, Government projects like the Metro Rail project, shut shop overnight thus affecting livelihood. Established Business Houses introduced the “work from home” culture, much to the relief of their employees. Panic was rampant. People went on a hoarding binge, stocking essential commodities. Supermarket shelves emptied out overnight. Our concern was what about the daily wagers, the construction workers, the cart pullers, the migrants? Despite the Government schemes, many were still at a loss as to how to provide food for their families. The pandemic and lockdown had totally turned their world upside down. We were informed about a daily wager who had not had a meal for two days.
My friends and I, totally eight of us, wanted to do something. Time was of essence. Keeping the Archdiocesan SCC theme of “NO ONE IN WANT” in mind, we took on the task to provide a meal and rations for as many as we could. Our target recipients were the underprivileged families of Dharavi and Mahim. And so we made a start. We pooled in a part of our earnings and tied up with a local restaurant owner, who willingly agreed to provide breakfast at a nominal price. Early morning, on the first day, around 7:15 am, five of us gathered near Mahim station to start the distribution. But it was not easy. It was difficult to discipline the crowd and get them to queue up, following the “social distancing” norm that was enforced. Fortunately for us, the head of the group came forward to assist us in maintaining discipline thus ensuring that everyone received the breakfast. Our first day was a success and also helped us gauge how many would turn up in the following days.
In the first two weeks more than 200+ items were purchased and distributed and soon we ran low on cash. But we wanted to continue the good work. And so, the team decided to appeal for funds through WhatSapp messages and posting a request on a fundraiser website. We assured our donors that their contributions would go a long way in providing food to the daily wagers and their families during the lockdown. We also promised to share the impact report as to how the money was utilised. The response was overwhelming. Many donated and so we were able to continue our project, every day, for the next nine to ten weeks. Besides the breakfast, we supplied them with grain and pulses, as per their need.
Our generous donors made it possible for us to achieve our goal. There is nothing bigger and better than helping a fellow human being. I appeal to all – use your talent, knowledge or money for the betterment of the underprivileged and experience unimaginable joy and satisfaction in return.
Sacred Heart Church