BENGALURU: These are mindboggling statistics: Over 1 crore meals given during the lockdown period for anyone going hungry in Bengaluru. An average of 50,000 rotis packed every day along with other eatables, for thousands of passengers leaving by Shramik Special trains from the city.
Over 20 NGOs in the city came together under the banner ‘Mercy Mission’ to make this massive project possible. Unstinted financial support from the Azim Premji Foundation and generous contributions from numerous donors, which shot up during the month of Ramadan, ensured its continuity right from March 24, when it began in a small way.
An emotional Sohana Das, seated inside a Shramik train departing to Balasore in Odisha, said, “I have no words to express my gratitude. It is something I will never forget in my lifetime.” Many migrants, about to embark on their journey penniless, expressed similar sentiments. Mohammed Ismail of Mercy Mission, who insists on being called “only a volunteer”, said, “There are 48 kitchens across the city which prepare the meals every day. In addition, three vendors at Koramangala, Padmanabha Nagar and Electronics City make rotis for us daily.
The one in Padmanabha Nagar is the largest, and supplies 30,000 to 40,000 rotis a day. The food is transported to a vast space available at Crescent School in Basavanagudi, where nearly 60 volunteers pack the food throughout the night.” Tanveer Ahmed, also from the Mission, said, “It is not just Mercy Mission but many others who have chipped in to eradicate hunger.
There would have been more deaths due to hunger than corona, but for this collective effort.” Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru, A K Verma said, “The NGOs have supplied so many things. Their spirit of serving humanity with dedication and sincerity is absolutely wonderful, and a big learning experience for all of us. “