One Lawyer's initiative feeds 26,000 homeless and stranded people daily in South Delhi amid the Coronavirus pandemic
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One Lawyer's initiative feeds 26,000 homeless and stranded people daily in South Delhi amid the Coronavirus pandemic

A standard meal consisting of Dal/Sabzi + Roti/Rice + clean drinking water is provided to every person. A 1/2 litre of milk is also being provided to every family with a new born baby under the age of 6 months.

Rintu Mariam Biju

One of the major concerns amid the COVID-19 health pandemic has been the scarcity of meals for the homeless and hungry stranded workers.

Though various State Governments had undertaken to feed the poor by providing food packets, many all over the country still to go bed on empty stomachs. Further, the ration benefits provided by the State Government can only be availed by persons with ration cards.

This prompted Advocate Anshul Chowdhary to come up with "Feed the Need" initiative, aiming to feed the poor and the homeless in South Delhi amid the health crisis. Feed the Need is an initiative of Chowdhary's own restaurant operating in Delhi, The Food Therapist.

Food Therapist: Donatation details
Food Therapist: Donatation details

The Campaign was started on February 28, as a one time programme to feed 400 people. However, Chowdhary found that the quantity of the food was not sufficient to feed everyone who turned up, which exceeded the 400 limit.

Advocate Anshul Chowdhary
Advocate Anshul Chowdhary

Subsequently, the initiative was promoted as a "crowd-funded project" targeting to increase the food quantity in order to feed more people.

Currently, the food production stands at 26,000 meals per day and the total tally of meals since the inception of Feed the Need initiative is at 2,51,300 as on April 17.

Speaking to Bar and Bench, Advocate Anshul Chowdhary said,

"We were realizing that the demand for food is at all time high. Government ration is only being given to those with a ration card and the food being served by the government authorities is not fulfilling the demand as the population remains a big challenge."
Anshul Chowdhary

How Feed the Need operates

There are 8 volunteers set up and divided in groups of 2 location-wise. The food is prepared and the carriage vehicle transports it to the respective food stations at designated spots, where local volunteers are ready and food recipients are made to stand in a queue while observing social distancing norms.

Chowdhary also conducts video calls with the volunteers to ensure the smooth and systematic distribution of the food.

A standard meal consisting of Dal/Sabzi + Roti/Rice + clean drinking water is provided to every person. A 1/2 litre of milk is also being provided to every family with a new born baby under the age of 6 months.

Further, to better understand the needs of the food recipients, data files are being collected before food distribution, Chowdhary says.

Chowdhary added, "We took help from our volunteers who marketed and arranged for funds from family and peers on short notice. Two persons who are key persons in the campaign are Dr. Parikshet Sirohi, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and Nysa Verma who have been in on the campaign since day 1."

Currently food is being distributed in the areas in the slum clusters of Sriniwaspuri, Ashram, Indira Camp, AIIMS Shelter Homes, Moolchand Metro Station, the Ring Road outside PGDAV College for all migrants walking to UP, daily wage labourers in Lal Sai Market etc.

To ensure transparency, all donations to the initiative are posted online for verification on the Instagram page and Facebook page of The Food Therapist, Chowdhary informs.

Sanitary and Hygiene measures

While distributing food, Chowdhary says that he makes it a point to ensure that all volunteers are equipped with PPE kits, gloves and masks at all stages, except while cooking.

However, even while preparing the food, reasonable precautions such as monitoring the cooking staff and quarantine measures are adopted. Further, social distancing is maintained during the food distribution amongst food recipients and volunteers.

Moreover, complying to government norms, a handwash soap dispenser has been placed at all food distribution stations for the benefit of the food recipients.

Feed the Need volunteers
Feed the Need volunteers

As a message to other lawyers, Chowdhary says,

"We as individuals from the legal fraternity have been saving the day for many clients since the day we stepped into our offices and courtrooms, now it is the time to save the day by doing the best of what we can during this pandemic. Apart from donating, measures such as spreading the message of protecting oneself, taking care of all those working with us in our offices can also go a long way. In short, as a lawyer, any act that collectively helps us steer through the COVID-19 situation in the best manner possible would be ideal to face this multi-faceted problem."

Anshul Chowdhary

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