In this hard time, a citizen’s initiative ‘Khaana Chahiye’ in Mumbai, is working every day to serve meals to the homeless, migrant workers and underprivileged residents of slums.
Shishir Joshi founder of a non-profit organization called Project Mumbai, Pathik Muni, Ruben Mascarenhas; a local politician, Neeti Goel was the driving force behind Khaana Chahiye, founded on 29 March. This initiative is now serving 70,000 meals per day and still now served around 33 lakh meals across Mumbai.
“Reports of homeless people sleeping hungry on roads come out and started addressing the problems of homes first”- Pathak Muni said.
They started with distributing 1200 meals on western Express Highway of Mumbai.
“The 1200 meals were distributed in minutes, and in hope of food fights broke out between the people on the first day and realized that they need to scale up.”-said Ruben. “Soon we realized that this is not the only problem of homeless but migrants and slum dwellers”, said Muni.
Joshi said, “We started crowdfunding and appealed for more volunteers”. Things went in place and more volunteers joined up and taking care of the safety precautions”. Neeti Goel has five restaurants each of which started preparing meals for the ‘Khaana Chahiye’ initiative. After three weeks, they said now they are delivering 70000 meals across Mumbai.
- Nutrition Security to be the Key Priority to Alleviate Poverty in India
- Over 1 Lakh Children did not Get Mid-Day Meal amid lockdown in Uttarakhand
Khaana Chahiye initiative is currently serving all the five arterial roads in the city; linking road, Western Express Highway, LBS Marg, SV Road, and Eastern Express Highway around 15000-16000 meals daily.
As migrant workers are moving in special Shramik trains back to their homes they are serving around 1800 meals per train to around 25-28 trains per day at three stations out of four of Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and the Bandra terminal.
“We have started a drive with Radio Mirchi, where we are serving around 70 buses daily, where we are providing food on those buses.”, said Muni.
They are also servicing by providing rations to 9 orphanages, serving 1200 meals daily to the firefighters in the city also providing rations to 11 Adivasi villages in Sanjay Gandhi National Park by working closely with the forest department.
Besides, they are also collaborating with various restaurants across Mumbai including -Madras Diaries Restaurant, Cafe Royal India and The Bohri Kitchen, etc.and they offered their closed kitchens to prepare meals. They are also coordinating up with various NGO’s. They are also providing food to the various hospitals and police stations.
The food distribution is done through local tempos. But soon after they get support from the administration and now using transport buses to distribute food packets to various locations.
In addition to this, they also started the initiative, Ghar Bhejo Abhiyan, where they help migrant workers back to their hometowns. Co-founder Muni said- “we started the campaign before the administration started the trains. We book private buses and transport migrant workers to their home state and get their medicals done and take permission from the host state and home state so that they don’t have problems reaching their home state.”
In the coming days, they are planning to distribute sanitization kits to the people. This drive has also attracted the attention of celebrities like Abhishek Bachchan and Sonu Sood who shared messages across their social media handles.
‘Project Mumbai’ is also planning to continue serving the meals for at least a month after and Pathak Muni said that they will continue the initiative beyond the crisis also.