Residents in Italy provide food to needy by 'lowering baskets'; youths in India share mobile numbers for ‘mental food’

Keeping humanitarian work alive, residents in quarantine in Naples, Italy, have started providing food and daily essentials to the homeless and the needy by lowering a ‘Supportive Basket’ through their balconies. While back in India, youths are posting their mobile numbers on Instagram and other social media for anybody who wants to talk, share mental health issues and release anxiety during the lockdown period.

Residents in Italy are lowering baskets carrying basics like pasta, bread, milk, cookies, eggs and sauces for the needy. Federico Nazzi, a youth whose family lives in Naples, said, “We place a piece of paper on the basket, saying ‘chi può metta, chi non può prenda’ which means, ‘Those who can please add, who cannot please take’, so that people on the streets can add to the basket according to their wish.”

These baskets, called ‘o panàr’, are part of the Neapolitan culture, said Simone De Vivo, a Naples resident. Simone said, “Women who did not want to leave the house would lower a basket down the balcony and shop owners would put groceries.

The women would pull the baskets up and then lower it again to leave money for the shoppers. So now, in times of crisis, this tradition is used to help others.”

While in India, youngsters are focussing on helping each other to maintain peace of mind by sharing mobile numbers to listen to anybody who wants to talk about their thoughts, express feelings or share emotions while being locked down at home.

Archana Jain, a working youth who posted her mobile number on an Instagram story, said, “I have shared my cellphone number so that anyone in need of venting anxiety or pent up frustration can directly call or message me. Many people just want somebody to talk to or a listening ear and I am willing to help them.”

Not being busy is the toughest mental battle especially if you are used to leading a fast paced life in Mumbai, said Karlo Mustaqui, a working youth. Mustaqui said, “We are so used to being busy and running around for work in Mumbai we don’t know what to do when we are forced to stay confined to four walls of the house. We badly need someone to talk to us and share our thoughts so we can let things out of our system. It helps maintain peace of mind.”

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