Ration kits to provide 2,52,000 meals to 12000 people – Sadhu Vaswani Mission

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Pune, 5 May 2020 – While the ongoing seva for migrant workers’ camps continued in Pune city and suburbs, the plight of residents in the remote tribal villages came to the attention of Sadhu Vaswani Mission’s dedicated corps of volunteers. From 2nd May 2020 — 4th May 2020, the Mission took up a 4-day seva in the far-away district of Bhor district of Maharashtra.

Divided into 8 zones, the district comprises several remote villages. “A distress call from the taluka showed that the people of these remote villages, comprising mostly fishermen, brick-kiln workers, craftsmen and farmers, were in dire straits. The pandemic lockdown has exhausted their savings and almost all of them were rendered without a livelihood,” said an official of the Mission. The Mission immediately swung into action and organised a seva that took 4 days to complete.

The district authorities were delighted with the Mission’s timely offer of help. The Tehsildar identified the needy families and came up with a detailed list with the number of persons in each family which was provided to the Mission. Volunteers set to work quickly, putting together special ration kits of 18 kgs each that contained 5kg wheat flour, 5kg rice, 1kg dal, 1kg pulses, 1kg poha/sabudana/suji, 1kg sugar, 1kg cooking oil, 250gms tea powder and a hygiene kit including 2 bathing soaps, 2 washing soaps, 1 toothpaste and 1 bottle coconut oil, all of which were neatly packaged for distribution. On day one, the Mission volunteers drove the goods to a temporary warehouse setup near the Tehsildar’s office, ready for distribution the following day.

The district is situated on rough and difficult terrains. The villages are on hilltops, byways, village tracks and ghats with the paths leading into the villages being inaccessible in most cases. “It came to our notice that the villagers living on the hilltops, especially, are cut-off from the city and the nearest small grocery store is about a 10 km hike. As for the people living in slightly more accessible areas, they were in abject poverty with almost all of them living under a bare thatched roof in a small parcel of land for a home. All their resources had been exhausted and people were left with just a little boiled rice for daily food,” said a volunteer.

On day two, 40 volunteers in 15 vehicles took the 3-hour journey to distribute rations at the door-steps of the villagers. 2300 ration kits were distributed. “The eyes of the recipients shone with relief. Although they had no food for themselves and only had water fetched from a well, they offered it to us. They blessed us and thanked Dada, our Beloved Master profusely,” remarked a volunteer. An elderly man exclaimed, “The blessing of a hungry one is from the soul.” “But I must commend their resilience; they are smiling through these tough times. We have so much to learn from them,” the volunteer added.

“It’s our Beloved Master who led us to them. They were in dire need. A woman showed me around her tiny house. All the pots were absolutely empty. We should not allow our fellow human beings to live in hunger. We hope our seva reinstated their faith in God and humanity,” said another volunteer.

On day three, another trip was made with ration kits that were warehoused in the granary.

On the final day of the seva, the fourth trip, an additional 700 ration kits were distributed by the volunteer team. Villagers implored the volunteers to come back before the rations are exhausted.

With this seva, the Mission reached out to 80-90 villages and distributed 3000 kits. Of these, about 100 recipient families are unlisted tribals and rag-pickers. These kits will provide 2,52,000 meals to over 12000 people.

Amongst the recipients was a 14-year old orphan girl, who was also an HIV+ and lived on her own.

“The Mission has executed an unprecedented service activity in this area. It is undoubtedly going to be remembered in this remote area for years to come,” said Baban Tadwi, a government official.

Didi Krishna Kumari, Sadhu Vaswani Mission, said that the volunteers had been inspired by Rev. Dada’s appeal to the youth of India: “Take charge of the less fortunate ones of your country. Do what you can for them; do whatever is in your power to help them.”

Government officials helped in organising the seva efficiently. Coordination and distribution was carried with adherence to social protocols. Recipients were briefed on social distancing and non-crowding a day earlier to the distribution.

The Mission continues to provide an average of 60,000 meals daily to the needy in Pune and suburbs.