We saw, heard, and read that many people came out of their homes and helped needy persons during the lockdown. They provided food, groceries and other essentials when the whole country had come to a standstill. Among such heroes emerged Let’s Celebrate Fitness (LCF).
LCF, a runners’ group from Vashi, started a small initiative by making food available for senior citizens. It is now serving foods to hundreds of needy persons in Navi Mumbai today. The group received support from a number of sections, including the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC).
Recently, the civic body provided the group with a refrigerator to start a food bank and requested Navi Mumbaikars donate the group to feed the needy and hungry in the city instead of throwing leftover foods. Only quality food is given out as the LCF tests the quality itself.
Richa Sameet, a fashion designer by profession and senior member of LCF, recalls when she received a call from a senior citizen who needed help just two days after the lockdown was imposed. “Following a countrywide lockdown imposed on March 25, 2020, maids were not allowed to enter in society building. But senior citizens who were completely dependent upon maids to prepare food were clueless,” said Sameet, adding that initially, she went to many senior citizens’ homes and prepared food.
Later, other runners from LCF joined her and started providing food to senior citizens and needy people from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai. This endeavour began with just three people, and now, they have more than 18 volunteers. On the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, with the help of NMMC, the group started a food bank at Sector 9A behind Vashi depot. “We received support from NMMCadministration in getting travel passes. A restaurant in Vashi bus depot also provided space for preparing foods,” Sameet shared.
Now, the group has started providing food (not for free) to functions, and whatever they earn, they use to provide food to needy persons. “We have a target to give food to at least 200 to 300 people daily,” said Sameet, adding that they have started selling food coupons and requested people to buy food coupons and give them to needy persons who can collect food from their centre free of cost. “Do not give money to beggars. Give them coupons, and we will give them fresh food,” Sameet added.