Amid lockdown, locals step up to cook and deliver meals to Aarey tribals

Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 08:01 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

About 10 of them have been helping the tribal community and some daily wage earners staying in Aarey Milk Colony with free meals

Members of the group Aarey Helping Hand for Everyone prepare and distribute two meals a day
Members of the group Aarey Helping Hand for Everyone prepare and distribute two meals a day

The citizens of Mumbai have not forgotten the tribals who stay in the Aarey Milk Colony, during the lockdown. As the tribal families staying there don't have money or means to buy food during the lockdown, a group of local people have come together to help some of them.

Members of the group, named Aarey Helping Hand for Everyone, cook and deliver meals free of cost to over 450 people in the remote areas in Aarey colony. On Wednesday daily wage earners from the South who have been staying in Aarey contacted them for food.

Aarey Milk Colony is spread across 16 square kilometres and has a total of 27 tribal hamlets with over 10,000 tribal people. Over 30,000 other people also stay in Aarey.

The meals packed for distribution
The meals packed for distribution

Pooled in their money
The group of like-minded youngsters and people were aware of many people staying in Aarey who lead a hand-to-mouth life. They realised it would become difficult for them to get food even once a day during the lockdown. So the group of about 10 people decided to cook food and distribute it to them during the lockdown. Most of them have businesses of their own such as shops and some are stable owners. They are pooling in their own money and not asking for any contributions from others.

A local hotelier, Shahid Khan, who is a member of the group said, "We knew that the lockdown would have a huge impact on the daily wage workers and tribal community members staying in Aarey. So about 10 of our like-minded friends came together and we have been cooking food on a daily basis and distributing it to the needy people."

The needy can contact them
On Sunday the group plans to distribute essential food items to some needy tribal families in Aarey. They distribute the meals twice, at around 12:00 noon and at around 8 pm. This includes packets of biryani, veg pulao etc.

"In order to reach out to more people, we shared contact numbers on Facebook so that those who want food can contact us," said another volunteer of the group. While distributing the food packets the group members make sure that people follow all the safety precautions and maintain social distance.

450
Approximate no. of meals the group distributes

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