Despite No Income Amid Lockdown, Old Delhi Shop Owners Serve Needy

‘Will keep serving people till we can’: Old Delhi locals giving back to the community & homeless amid lockdown.

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Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown followed by it have bared many ugly realities around us. One thing which is evident in India is the class divide. We all saw how the daily wagers migrated from cities back to their home towns after the lockdown.

But amid the heartbreaking stories of the migrants, the hungry and poor, there are stories that restore faith in humanity. Good Samaritans from all over India came out to help the poor and needy by providing them relief material and food.

Amid many NGOs on the ground, some local residents and businessmen have also come forward to help the poor. Like the responsible locals of Old Delhi who have been serving the people on streets and neighborhood with relief packages and cooked meals.

Giving Back To The People We Earned From: Al-Jawahar Restaurant

Named after PM Jawaharlal Nehru, owners of popular Al-Jawahar restaurant in Jama Masjid are distributing relief packages in neighborhoods containing essentials such as dal, rice, flour, a bottle of oil and salt. There are many people who come to the restaurant to take these packages, including locals and daily wagers such as rikshawalas and house-helps.

People at Al-Jawahar contacted the committees of respective streets and identified houses where they then distributed relief material. They are also reaching to the families in East Delhi. According to them, social distancing is maintained by reaching doorsteps to drop food material rather than lining up people outside the restaurant.

"Al-Jawahar has earned from this public. So we can take out some of that money for the people who can’t come out of their houses because of the lockdown."
Mohd Akram, Co-owner, Al-Jawahar

Residents Of Matia Mahal Are Serving Two Meals A Day

Neighbors and friends in Matia Mahal came together to feed home-cooked food to homeless people. They started by feeding 10-12 people near Chawri Bazar and gradually increased to feed almost 500 people daily.

They now feed people in a small ground near Jama Masjid, their volunteers being local shop-owners, school kids, neighbours and mothers who cook the food at home. Rikshawalas and labourers from Bihar, UP, Kolkata, etc, many of whom are penniless and homeless, know that meals will be served two times a day, 1 pm and 8 pm.

To avoid taking credit for donations, some shop owners requested anonymity pegging their contribution as a community effort.

Two men on a scooty, distributing packed food, told us that they are from Ballimaran area of Old Delhi. These local shop-owners get food for almost 600 people cooked everyday. When asked how are they able to feed other when their shops are closed and they have no income, they replied:

"God is getting this done, we are not. We don’t know how we are able to do this. We thought of doing this and it’s happening. We will keep doing this till we can."
Shop owner of Ballimaran area

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