HYDERABAD: The contagious and sickening nature of the Omicron variant makes it very difficult for infected persons to cook and even shop for food safely. In times like these, good nutrition is essential for a healthy body. Fortunately, this wave, too, has brought forth good Samaritans.
An NGO, Helping Spot Organisation, run by Hyderabad’s Bhargav Ventrapragada, has been serving nutritious and hygienic home-cooked food for free for those under home isolation. During the second wave in 2021, it had started the ‘Free Food For Covid Patients’ campaign on WhatsApp and provided 35,000 free meals in 15 locations in Hyderabad for over 65 days.
“Each day, we see how the third wave could not be far away, and people are growing helpless. We restarted the campaign for people who cannot cook for themselves, particularly the elderly living alone,” says Bhargav, a social activist and event manager in TiE Hyderabad.
Bhargav resides at Ameenpur, but has stretched his hands to help residents with home-cooked food in the suburbs of Miyapur, Ameenpur, Kukatpally, and Bachupally with help from volunteers and friends. Anyone who has tested positive for Covid from the aforementioned areas can contact +91 88866 86000 via WhatsApp — with a request for food parcels.
Bhargav’s spouse Uma Bhargav and mother Roja Sundara Valli start their day at 6 am — they prepare lunch for over 100 people a day. “I have a four-month-old baby now, which makes this work difficult. But, with help from my family, friends and volunteers, we are able to pull it off. I help with the preparation of food, packaging and delivery. My friends and volunteers help us with the deliveries, chipping in for the expenses,” Bhargav adds.
“We are taking all the necessary precautions, like using good quality, hygienic oils and rice. What we cook for ourselves daily is what we’re cooking for our ailing friends. Each pack costs us about Rs 50, and we spent around Rs 15,000 for food (lunch and dinner) every day from our savings,” he informs CE.