Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
I stay in Najafgarh, New Delhi. I recently wrote my class 12 exams and I’m waiting for the lockdown to get over so that I can think about my higher studies.
A group of us decided to not waste our time sitting at home. Since no one is studying right now and is idle since March, we thought to utilise our energy in cooking and distributing food among the needy and all those who don’t have access to food amid the coronavirus lockdown.
We pooled in our pocket money and started a group called ‘Ek Pehel’. It has been nine days and we have fed 2,000 families to date. We go to Jai Vihar and Lal Stadium and feed families staying in the slum areas there.
An empty plot in Najafgarh is being used as a kitchen for us. We cook and distribute the food ourselves.
We have divided the responsibilities. Two people cook, two get ingredients, and two distribute – all while keeping in mind the principle of social distancing.
While cooking, we wear gloves, masks and full t-shirts. We have been ensuring hygiene in packaging the food as well. We have also made some dry ration kits that have pulses, rice, flour, oil, salt and turmeric.
We have a vehicle that we use for distribution and we have a curfew pass as well. One parent always accompanies us. There was some problem in movement earlier but the police saw that we are working by taking all precautions and following all rules, so they let us continue the good work.
We also need more funds so we spread the word to our friends and school teachers who contributed to Ek Pehel.
Till now, we are cooking and distributing meals every alternate day due to the shortage of funds. With extra money pooling in, we wish to work everyday.
Where we go to distribute food to the slums, we try to make people aware about ration schemes and PDS centres around them. We read up about ration schemes, any other schemes for daily wage workers and e-rickshaw pullers. We then try to educate everyone in the slums so that they can benefit from subsidies in this tough time.
I believe that we have to leave behind caste and creed in such a time and be united to help each other. We should understand that we are privileged to have shelter in our big houses at such a time. Now, it is on to us to help those who have helped us.
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