Kolhapur: COVID-19 patients and frontline workers such as police and healthcare staff who have been working round the clock need a lot of immunity and energy to fight against this virus. To fulfil this demand and provide aid to these Covid warriors, Shubham Shirhetti, an engineering student from Kolhapur, introduced a program named gharcha dabba (A tiffin box containing homemade food). Under this initiative, a team of 24 students cook food, pack it in disposable containers and deliver it to these people.
This homemade hot and nutritious food not only provides energy but brings a smile to the faces of these Covid warriors. Currently, more than 200 people a day are enjoying fresh food delivered at their doorstep free. The tiffin for the frontline workers contains two chapatis and vegetables. COVID-19 patients get additional two eggs along with the regular menu.
"I am president of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) named Janasangarsha sena. Our NGO has been working extensively to help needy people. During the initial days of lockdown, we distributed breakfast packets to frontline workers across the city. Meanwhile, Covid centres approached us for food. Thus we replaced breakfast with a proper meal and included COVID-19 patients in the program. On the first day, we distributed 100 tiffin boxes. On day 10, we added eggs to the menu. And on day 15, we doubled the number of tiffin boxes. Our team member Prathamesh Mulik's kitchen is at our disposal," says Shubham Shirhetti.
People across Kolhapur who have been availing benefits of this service are thankful to the NGO. Mr. Khandekar, a relative of a COVID-19 patient said, "we have come to Kolhapur for the treatment of our family member. The city is under lockdown and we do not have any contacts here, still, we did not face any problem as these people have been providing us food for the past 15 days."
During the initial days, the program was run using money contributed by the team members; however, the funds were insufficient to continue it for a long time. The team then appealed to donors on various social media platforms. They received an overwhelming response from people. Some contributed money while others gave pulses, vegetables, and eggs.
The other major project of the NGO is ghar manuskicha jansangarsha senecha (A house for the patient’s relatives). Under this project, the NGO provides shelter to relatives of COVID-19 patients who come here from different cities for treatment.
"Currently we have rented five flats and use our office as well for accommodating people. We are planning to expand this facility to those who are still in need of a place to stay," says Sandesh Polade, a member of the NGO.
Along with this, the NGO sanitizes houses of COVID-19 patients free of cost. The sanitization team works from 11 am to 7 pm and covers at least 20 houses a day.