Bollywood has stood strong and united in the fight against the pandemic

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 11:16 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

With contributions from Ekta Kapoor, Karan Johar, Rohit Shetty and others, I Stand With Humanity distributes food kits across India.

Rohit Shetty, Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar
Rohit Shetty, Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar

Our favourite stars may have often been in the line of fire for their unwillingness to take a stand on pressing issues, but Bollywood has stood strong and united in the fight against the pandemic, lending a helping hand to those in need. In the 10 days since the campaign, I Stand With Humanity, was announced on social media, it has become a movement of sorts with several celebrities contributing generously, thus enabling the supply of essentials to one million homes.

Author and screenwriter Pankaj Dubey, who is the official spokesperson for the campaign that has nearly 15,000 volunteers, tells mid-day, "The initiative was started by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Rajkumar Hirani and Mahavir Jain, but soon bigwigs like Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Rohit Shetty, Dinesh Vijan, and many others joined in. We have reached out to over one million families in the past seven days."

Volunteers prepare the food kits
Volunteers prepare the food kits

Explaining their course of action, he shares, "The account details have been shared on social media, and the fact that stars are creating awareness and inspiring others to join the campaign. A lot of money coming from businessmen and bureaucrats. Using the funds, we have been distributing ration kits that contain about 10 to 15 days' food. We have also supplied these kits to daily wage workers across the country, including one lakh people in Maharashtra. Our volunteers are going door-to-door supplying the essentials. Funds and execution is the Art of Living's responsibilities. Friends from Film & tv industry are supporting in awareness." Dubey says the organisation has tied up with local authorities to enable smooth functioning. "In Mumbai, we have tied up with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation [BMC]. The volunteers have been identified by them, and only they are allowed to be out and about."

Volunteers distribute them among the needy
Volunteers distribute food among the needy

Currently functioning across six states and Delhi, the initiative aims to reach out to other pockets of the country in the coming days. "We are active in Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh."

Safety maintained at Bhiwandi store
Safety maintained at Bhiwandi store

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