These are the same kitchens which fed mid-day meals to children in municipal schools. While schools are shut, they continue to cook, but now for BMC staff, healthcare workers, quarantine centres, migrant workers, the homeless and poor.
Annamrita Foundation, formerly known as ISKCON Food Relief Foundation in its project ‘Karuna’ is putting its ISO certified kitchens to good use. “Schools have been shut. We thought why not use our kitchens to feed the needy and the healthcare workers who are putting their lives at risk for us,” said Dr. Radha Krishna Das, administrative adviser of the foundation. Food from these kitchens in Chembur, Mira Road Bhayander and Wada, Palghar is rolling out in insulated steel containers every day to slums and tribal pockets in Vasai – Virar, Ambuj Wadi, Malvani, Malad, Dharavi, Borivili, Ramabhai Colony, Vikroli pipeline, Saki Naka, Ghatkopar East, Navi Mumbai, Byculla and Colaba.
The project is a joint effort as the foundation does not have the distribution network to deliver the food. They have found partners in Rotary Club of Mumbai Queens Necklace, Giants Club, YMCA, IDF, Arham Yuva Seva Group and Art of Living among others who reach the food with the help of over 300 volunteers. “There are slums where in a lane only one person can walk at a time. We would not have been able to do this without the help of local volunteers,” said Das.
In the 42 days since the lockdown began, the project has served over 31,10,850 meals in and around the city. With the lockdown extending however, their donors – mostly corporates and philanthropists are finding it difficult to continue the funding. “As the funding situation is now, we will be able to carry on the good work only till May 17 and we need new donors to come forward,” says Das. A container with 7.5 kgs food costs Rs. 825 and can feed as many as 30 persons. But a single meal can be sponsored even at Rs. 21, adds Das. To donate, contact: 7045941392.