BENGALURU: Two aspirational city-based businessmen have decided to help migrant workers and the urban poor with freshly cooked food, dry ration and preventive body gear like masks, PPEs and gloves. The two Nikhils – Nikhil Kamath (33), the co-founder and chief information officer of Zerodha – a city-based financial service company and Nikhil Hegde (36), owner of ‘Smally’s Café’ – a popular chain of restaurants – have been distributing 15,000 food packets daily to migrant workers and slum dwellers in Bengaluru.
Last month, through Zerodha Kamath set aside a corpus of `25 crore towards relief and aid through corporate social responsibility and in his personal capacity. “We have donated part of the money to the Prime Minister’s CARE Fund, the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and the remaining funds have been put to use in providing free meals through Smally’s Café and medical kits,” said Kamath.
“We decided to contribute in the Action COVID-19 Team (ACT) fund set up by the central government. We try to provide medical equipment wherever there is a shortfall in BBMP hospitals,” he added.
“We had invested in Smally’s Café and when the call came, we decided to partner with Hegde in supplying free meals,” said Kamath. Hegde, who runs four outlets of Smally’s in Bengaluru put his staff to use in sourcing, cooking, packaging and distributing food packets. With him came his friends and well wishers, who have been volunteering with him.
“We got support from
the area corporators for logistics in terms of a place to store and cook large scale meals. We buy 15 to 20 tonnes of fruits every week from farmers and distribute them with the meals,” said Hegde. They now have people across Bengaluru volunteering with them to ensure that the food reaches people on time. “We distribute food to people from Talghattapura to Hegde Nagar and Thanisandra. The need is humongous,” he added. Theywill continue with free meals supply until the lockdown, the two said.