Though COVID-19 positive numbers in Thane city have come down from daily thousand to hardly 24 on Monday. Entrepreneurs like Sameera Amol Bhosle, who responded to the emergency serving food to covid-19 patients, continue to serve around 300 doctors and covid patients on daily basis.
Bhosle recalls saying no one can forget the date March 23, 2020, the city came under strict lockdown. "A huge number of patients were getting admitted to the hospital. There were no beds with the hospital going housefull. At the same time, there was an emergency job to provide daily healthy food to the admitted patients. In this situation where people were not ready to accept any outsider in the society, we were approached by the collector's office and were asked to start the complete day meal in Thane civil hospital for covid patients," she added.
Bhosle is in the caterers business since 2009 and used to provide daily tiffin to societies. She had also organized catering services for weddings and get-togethers.
"In the past few years, we provided food to events organized by the Thane collector office. They appreciate our work, which became clear after receiving a call during a pandemic when people were losing jobs," she added.
Bhosle along with her partner Ashish Deore (38), started calling the staff, who were not ready to join back. "When we informed them about the opportunity, around five of them left the job. Even after having a job at hand, we were short of staff. Without wasting any time, we then contacted all the relatives and friends in Thane. We informed them about the job we have, where we have to provide food at the hospital to the patients and doctors. We had a meeting where all the positive and negative impacts of covid were discussed. However, we conclude by convincing ourselves that when doctors and nurses can work with patients then why can't we provide them food too by working in a place, which is too far from the center's," she added, stating convincing all was also another task.
But the teamwork showed results, "just like a mother who takes care of her child when he is unwell. We were taking care of the covid patients by giving them timely, tasty, and hot food," said Sameera Amol Bhosle, a 38-year-old woman who runs Amol caterers in Thane and had provided daily food meals to around 6,000 patients across Thane.
The Amol caterer was providing a complete day meal at Rs 264, which includes morning and evening breakfast, lunch, dinner. "After the global and parking plaza center started in Thane. We were providing 6,000 packets daily to the hospital. From making to deliver the hospital and that too hot food. It was all a team effort, which helped us grow," added Bhosle.
The caterers were then informed that the patients go tasteless during the covid treatment. "However, to bring back the taste on their tongue we decided to give them tempting food. Like pav bhaji, masala dosa, and tasty food for breakfast. We almost have a staff of 40 to 50 people and use machinery to cook it faster," she added.
Bhosle who is an MCom pass out was always interested in cooking and she claims about getting the opportunity to prove it during the pandemic. Despite having two kids, she took the opportunity and was taking all precautionary measures to keep the family safe.
"Normal days were completely different than the pandemic. We were scared of what would happen to us if we were tested positive, as people were losing lives those days. But we took positive thoughts and worked hard to grab the opportunity. I was personally checking the taste of the food before sending it to patients," she added.
Bhosle claims with covid patients declining day by day they are just providing food to around 300 people including doctors, nurses, and covid patients. "The only thing I learn is if God is providing us with opportunity in this difficult time. He may have chosen us for the job. We should just start, it will further generate help and support," added Bhosle.