Food parcels during Lockdown
Alongside Covid-19, lockdown is the other word, which has obtained international renown over the past year. Life and conversations, news and messages all seem to revolve around this tiny virus and the restrictions it has imposed on so many.
In India, there have been multiple complete locks with no travel permitted except to the hospital or grocery shop, and that only at certain times of the day. This scenario is difficult for those who have the ability to prep food and other essentials, but becomes impossible to face, if you have no money set aside. There is one very large part of our society, for which these measures could be life-threatening.
A vast majority of India’s population earns its living through daily wages, earning just enough to buy food to meet their daily needs, and were most impacted when the lockdown was imposed. Add to this that many of these daily wage workers are also migrant workers, who have left their village and moved to where they can find work. Once this lockdown was put in place these millions of daily wage workers were left without money to buy food and without the means to return to their families. All travel was prohibited from one day to the next.
As soon as we heard about the lockdown, we made plans to provide food for those in need. Rice, lentils, sugar, coffee, tea, millets, spices, noodles and vegetables – make that 11 tons of vegetables! We have to date distributed food to more than 2,000 families to villages, refugee camps, migrant workers, tribal villages, individuals, who have knocked on our door as well as a village, which had sent out a call for help through social media. It was a challenge to locate this village and took us five days before we could finally supply food parcels to these 80 families of broom makers and astrologers. Calls for help have reached us from different parts of our country, and we have been privileged to help families in five different states of India including those who have lost everything because of the cyclone, Amphan.
The lifting of lockdown does not mean that the challenges of so many to feed themselves and their families will go away. It will take months, if not years for employment and the economy to return to their pre-lockdown levels.