Coronavirus outbreak: Mumbaikars go the extra mile to ensure no one goes hungry

Updated: Mar 27, 2020, 08:45 IST | Pallavi Smart, Pradeep Dhivar | Mumbai

Individuals and organisations continue to do their bit by distributing food and water to the homeless, beggars, daily wagers, cops and BMC workers

Waseem Ahmed Shaikh, a businessman from Chembur, offers food to a cop on Thursday. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar
Waseem Ahmed Shaikh, a businessman from Chembur, offers food to a cop on Thursday. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar

With the lockdown in place and no jobs to earn their livelihood, the poor and homeless in the city have found hope in the good samaritans who are ensuring that no one sleeps hungry while the country fights the deadly Coronavirus.

Help for the needy — homeless people, beggars, daily wagers — is pouring in from all corners of the city; not just organisations, individuals, too, are going the extra mile to keep their fellow citizens fed. One among them is a businessman from Chembur, Waseem Ahmed Shaikh, who loads his four-wheeler with biscuits, bananas and water bottles, and drives till Bandra distributing them to the needy, twice a day.

"I started this on Sunday, on the day of Janata Curfew. I could see many people on the roads with no option to arrange food and water. Now with the 21-day lockdown, the situation is going to get worse. So I decided to do my bit," said Shaikh, who spends about Rs 2,000 every day to buy bananas, mineral water bottles and Parle-G biscuits for the needy.

amaat-e-Islami Hind volunteers distribute food packets to people in need on Thursday
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind volunteers distribute food packets to people in need on Thursday

Shaikh drives till Bandra with the stock twice a day — once at 12 pm and again 9 pm. He takes utmost care of his own safety by putting on mask and gloves, and carries sanitisers. "I have been doing this for three days now. I offer help to anybody I see on the streets, be it a homeless person, a police officer or anyone in need. This is really needed with everything shut now," he said. Several organisations have also been delivering food to the helpless. Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind have joined hands to provide food to the daily wagers, who are currently out of jobs. In Kalyan alone, 10 different organisations have come together to deliver ration kits to around 600 needy families.

Haseeb Bhatkar, president of the Mumbai branch of Jamaat- e-Islami Hind, said, "We feel it is our responsibility to take care of the underprivileged and are fighting bigger battles in this time of crisis. While we are providing food packets to daily wage workers who have lost their jobs; we appeal to the citizens to connect with us if they want to contribute." Bhatkar said the volunteers have been proper instructions to take precautions when leaving their house.

Meanwhile, Sree Kutchi Visha Oswal Jain Seva Samaj in Kurla has been distributing about 800 food packets to people working in essential services. Kaptan Malik, NCP corporator who is helping the organisation, said, "The food packets are provided to all those working in essential services such as police, hospital staff, BMC workers. Around 500 packets are distributed in the morning and 300 at night."

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