Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 18 (ANI): As Covid restrictions disrupted the lives and livelihood of people, a Mumbai-based NGO has taken up the initiative to distribute food among the needy in the city.
According to Ruben Mascarenhas, Co-founder of the NGO, the initiative was first started last year when the lockdown was announced at the beginning of the pandemic. They claim to have distributed over 47 lakh meals across the city.
"We started this last year and we have been working to eliminate hunger in Mumbai. Last year we were able to raise enough money to provide over 47 lakh meals. We have once again started distributing meals," Mascarenhas told ANI.
"A lot of peoples have stopped getting their wages and their livelihood have been affected. Last year we were able to raise enough to raise to distribute 47 lakh meals and supported 6.5 lakh migrant workers," he said.
The team, consisting of about 200 hundred volunteers across the city, distributed up to one lakh meals a day last year.
"We fund the initiative through a crowd-funding program. Many have donated and corporates have also come out to support us. That is how we have been able to expand," he said.
Neeti Goyal, another co-founder said, "Last year we started with 1,200 meals. We didn't realise there would be so much hunger and desperation. When we came out, we realised that we would need at least 12,000 meals instead of 1,200."
"The main idea behind this initiative is to fight hunger. Hunger is a disease and the vaccine is food. If people don't die of COVID they will die of hunger. So we are trying to fight this," she told ANI.
Maharashtra remains one of the worst COVID-affected states in the country. In the last 24 hours, the state reported as many as 67,123 fresh COVID cases, including 8,834 in Mumbai. There are currently 87,369 active cases. 12,294 patients have succumbed to the virus so far.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a series of 'strict restrictions' in the state till May 1 including the imposition of Section 144 from Wednesday in view of rising COVID-19 cases. He, however, refrained from calling it a 'lockdown'.
Under the new guidelines, all establishments, public places, activities will remain closed in the state. Only essential services will be exempted, and their operations to be unrestricted. (ANI)