While most Mumbaikars responded to the gloomy weather and heavy rainfall on Saturday morning by lazing at home, more than 50 volunteers and members of Animals Matter To Me (AMTM), a Malad-based animal welfare NGO, gathered at 11:00 AM at Chikuwade road to cook, pack, and deliver food to 500 stray dogs on the Marwe stretch.
The feeding programme was organised by founder of AMTM, Ganesh Nayak (39), and was participated in by a total of 58 volunteers and members--one of the NGO's highest turnouts ever.
"On an average, we have a turnout of about 25 people," said Nayak. "But the turnout today surpassed our expectations as we thought most people won't show up because of the rains. But almost 60 people came forward today to participate in this cause, in spite of heavy rainfall all morning. This goes to show that there are always people out there who want to do their bit and help the animals...it's just that they don't know whom to go to."
Volunteers and members met up at the AMTM center in Malad by 11 AM to start cooking the food (a porridge like mix of rice, meat, chicken waste and turmeric), which was then packed in aluminum foil, loaded into trays, and then carried to areas of Erangal Beach, Aksa Beach, Dana Pani, Malas Madh Jetty and Madh Island, by means of three NGO-owned ambulances and two private vehicles. The feeding, which began post 130, went on till 630 in the evening, at the end of which a total target of feeding 503 dogs was achieved.
Nayak also pointed out that most of the volunteers today were youngsters below the age of 25 years. "The large turnout can be attributed to creating the event on Facebook, which got the attention of the youth," he said.
"The best part about the day was feeding dogs on such a large scale" said Sujay Shinoy, one of the cooks and a core member of AMTM. "The Facebook post helped us drawing in a larger crowd. I myself got six volunteers to come join the cause today."