Guwahati: Providing food relief to 2,000 people per day during the time of COVID-19 lockdown would need a proper and hygienic infrastructure to cook as well. What better than a restaurant kitchen which can manage to prepare food in large quantities every day?
Guwahati-based restaurant Makhan Bhog — with the help of Business Network International (BNI) — is doing just that through an initiative called ‘Helping Hearts.’
A brainchild of Dhruv Arya, the owner and head of operations of Makhan Bhog, along with co-founders Ashish Jalan, Pankaj Surana, Pankaj Bansal and Mukesh Achantani, the initiative began on March 26. On the first day, it was able to cater to 300 underprivileged people. Now, with the help of more than 70 donors (individuals along with sub-donors), the reach of the initiative has gone up to 2,000 people per day. “At times, if we are lucky, we are even able to feed up to 4,000 people,” said Arya.
The city of Guwahati in Assam is among the places with the highest concentration of migrant labour population, hence it has been hit the hardest due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown. The lockdown, though necessary to curb the infection rate of the virus has been hard on a section of people. These daily-wage labourers are among the underprivileged sections that have been battling to get two square meals a day amid the lockdown.
“After the food is prepared in our kitchens, we then go to the Police Reserve at Pan Bazar where we are accompanied by two constables. Then we follow a designated route which is already chalked out,” said Arya.
The initiative has been able to reach the people of Sonapur, Pamohi, Narengi, Khanapara, Basishtha and Bhoothnath, to name a few, in Guwahati. The food packets contain khichdi with vegetables like beans and carrots. Also, puri halwa is separately packed so that one can take it back home if they are unable to finish it.
That’s not all. Helping Hearts has also been helping the police department by providing them some basic yet necessary requirements. Arya added, “It is the summer season after all and the security personnel are on the roads under the heat with no shops nearby to get even a bottle of water.”
The initiative has been able to provide 6,000 bottles of water along with the ‘Odomos’ mosquito spray to police officials.