The well-fed network

Updated: May 03, 2020, 09:07 IST | Phorum Dalal | Mumbai

Khaanachahiye.com is creating a demand data base and a supply runway to ensure no one goes hungry in Mumbai. Here's how

Volunteers take deliveries from Bandra's Madras Diaries to distribute among daily wage workers and migrants along the Western and Eastern Express Highway
Volunteers take deliveries from Bandra's Madras Diaries to distribute among daily wage workers and migrants along the Western and Eastern Express Highway

Every morning, Sheldon Pinto drives from his Marol residence and picks up a co-volunteer. They drive to Juhu to pick up food packets to distribute among the needy as part of the S1team in charge of the Andheri to Goregaon belt.

"When the lockdown was announced, we got a lot of calls that were complaints about people going hungry," says co-founder of Khaana Chahiye, Ruben Mascarenhas.

Volunteers take deliveries from Bandra's Madras Diaries to distribute among daily wage workers and migrants along the Western and Eastern Express Highway

The initiative, launched in collaboration with Project Mumbai, creates a crowdsourced hunger map of the city. "The first step was to measure demand and activate dormant kitchen capacity across the city," says Mascarenhas, adding that since they started work on March 27, they have managed to expand to 12 areas of Mumbai from Bandra to Dahisar, Chembur, Govandi to Nahur. "From doing 2,000 meals on the first day, today our supply meets the demand at 70,000 meals. The organisation functions on two models: self-funding, and catering to organisations, like the BMC and NGOs."

Co-founder Pathik Muni, who runs the on-ground operations, tech and fundraising, explains the process. "First, I created a demand database from eight channels, including social media, NGOs, WhatsApp, clusters identified by the BMC, volunteers and the website. I then mapped this data and looked at funding to create a runway; it is an ongoing process."

Pranav Rungta and Ruben Mascarenhas
Pranav Rungta and Ruben Mascarenhas

The baton is passed to Pranav Rungta (owner of Tamak and Cafe Royale) and Munaf Kapadia (of The Bohri Kitchen) who activated kitchens that could make meals at a minimum price of between R20 and R30 a plate. Rungta, who is on the managing committee of the Mumbai chapter of the National Restaurant Association Of India (NRAI) has also been spearheading the hospitality body's Feed the Needy campaign in Mumbai. "Separately, when Khana Chahiye launched, Munaf and I tapped our network to find dormant kitchens of restaurants and caterers, some through NRAI members. Our first run was along the Eastern and Western Express Highway, and with Madras Diaries proprietor Neeti Goel," says Rungta.

Coming back to Pinto's schedule, the 36-year-old, who is the pastry chef behind Chocolate Nest, signed up to volunteer on March 30. "My son is one-and-a-half years old, and when I see children his age on the streets, it breaks my heart —with dirty hands they peel a banana and eat hungrily. If it were my child, I would take precautions and sanitise his hands," says Pinto. On their route, they drop 150 packets in Versova Koliwada, about 23 in Sahar and then take a detour to the east (though it is not on their duty) because he has identified people there who need food. He returns home at 4 pm and has his first meal of the day then. "Our daily rut leaves us no time to take up a social cause. I feel privileged and chosen for this duty. It is what leaves me satisfied at the end of every day if the lockdown."

70k
Number of meals distributed daily, up by 68k from March 27 when they launched

You can help

While the finances are taken care of by partners and donors, if you know anyone who is going hungry, be a source of information by filling out a form on www.khaanachahiye.com

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