2 Million Meals & Counting: Khaanachahiye’s Supply & Distribution Team Is Ensuring Meals Delivered To The Needy Everyday

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Food is very intrinsic to our well being and our culture. Whether we celebrate festivals or personal occasions such as marriages, birthdays, food is the centre of attraction, Khana Chahiye (We need food). When we go to someone’s house or when they come home food is the focus, they offer us food, or we cook for them, Khaana Chahiye. When we are very happy or when we are very sad, we dig into food, Khaana Chahiye. When we wake up, start the day, Khana Chahiye. When we come home after a tiring day Khana chahiye. 

In this lockdown, what is worrying Indians who are hungry, for themselves, for their children, for their family members? Khanaa Chahiye. What is making Indians come together in this difficult situation? The need to ensure no one goes hungry. Across the country, we can see various citizen’s movements coming up. One such citizen’s movement is Khaanachahiye.com based in Mumbai. What is very special about this movement is the scale which they have achieved. 

2.0 million meals had been served since the lockdown in Mumbai . 

Khaana Chahiye supply and operation

The need

Niti Goel, Mazher Ramzanali, Pranav Rungta, Swaraj Shetty formed the early core team members along with Ruben Mascarenhas,Pathik Muni the co-founders of Khaanachahiye.com. Together these bunch of mobile and extremely skilled youngsters got together for a cause which required them to dip into their diverse work experience to solve hunger problem in Mumbai city. Mazher Ramzanali says, “Mumbai is a very busy city which needs a heavy dose of empathy for its labour classes. I didn’t even know the names of housing keeping staff and security staff in my apartment complex. The city takes care of itself and everyone residing in it, when it functions so we never quite understand their pain of the lower middle classes and the poor. They are essential for our success but we rarely think about them. This crisis made us think about them and was a great leveler. I couldn’t watch as the crisis unfolded, and had to do something. Due to the fact that I had a young kid and an elderly at home.First step was to quickly put together a supply and distribution chain to make the meals reach the needy.”

Coming together of Khaanachahiye.com

Ruben Mascarenhas first thought he has to do something about the people who would go hungry due to the lockdown. He first did a pilot along with Pathik Muni, which was sponsored by Niti Goel, the owner of Madras Diaries and 3 other restaurants. They ran their first pilot with 1200 meals along the western express highway in the city. While the pilot was challenging, everyone on the team felt that the need was immense and they couldn’t let challenges stop them.

Khaana Chahiye supply and operation

Pathik Muni says, “I never understood hunger. My father used to say hunger can never be understood by anyone who has never craved for food”. I did not understand his wise words until I stepped out on the streets of Mumbai when the lockdown was first imposed and saw hungry children. I couldn’t bear to imagine what I would do if my child would have been hungry like that. It just shattered me. My father used to say, if we want to do something, there can be no excuses. I just took courage from my father’s life of hard work and inspiration from his words and decided we had to do something to ensure thes people are fed. ” 

Setting up processes

A protocol was established wherein demand was checked for genuineness, followed by ascertaining route and identification of kitchen to serve them. Further, this distribution of the food is equally crucial since the volunteers distributing food needed to be in protective gear, properly sanitising themselves and the food needed to be fit for eating. The volunteers called Food Ninja or warriors as they term, had to be on boarded told about the safety protocols and protective gear had to be procured for them when it was extremely difficult to come by. While this itself seemed like a herculean task. The kitchens themselves had to make a process. 

Pranav Rungta devised an SOP for the kitchens to follow. The SOP had instructions regarding the correct method of sanitising for all the kitchen staff, sanitisation process of grains and packing process. Packing is as crucial as anything since the food needs to be fresh and fit for the end-user. Typically, the kitchens start cooking by 4 am to ensure that food is ready for packing by 8 am. While Mazher and Pranav handled distribution, route mapping etc.,

Neeti along with her 4 friends from the restaurant industry quickly got together to put together a supply chain. When the lockdown happened, there was no access to any supplies of fresh produce or grains. There were two challenges that Neeti had to fix, 

  1. Challenge was to set up a supply chain for grains and produce,
  2. The second challenge was to procure the produce and grains at a very good rate in order to reduce the cost of the meals being cooked.

Initially, Neeti contacted her suppliers in the APMC market, arranged passes from BMC and procured produce and grains from them. However, this was not a viable option plus she needed to bring the cost of meals down thus she decided to directly procure from the farmers themselves. Every rupee saved meant more could be feed. As Neeti and her friends belonged to the restaurant background, she quickly used her professional experience to reach out to farmers, negotiated deals. Her staff struggled for 3 days to get passes from BMC in order for the farmers to transport produce and grains. Once the initial hurdles were crossed, things started to fall into place. Rice & vegetables were procured from farmers in Nasik and dal from mills in Sangli. The supply typically comes in once a week. Indirectly they also helped the farmers who couldn’t sell their produce at the mandis due to the lockdown.

The team at Khaana Chahiye decided that they would be giving one meal a day to as many people as possible. Once someone is identified on a route their commitment is to give them food till the end of lockdown. I have been talking to team members from Khana Chahiye from the last 4 days and just hearing them talk about them is overwhelming since the amount of work they do is tremendous. What makes these youngsters work so hard is the smile that food brings on the faces of the poor and hungry.  The interesting thing about this movement is that some of these team members have not even met each other but have been working with each other for the last 48 days for over 18 hours a day. To know how Khaana Chahiye managed this incredible feet of serving 2 million meals stay tuned for the upcoming stories on Khaana Chahiye on the Efforts For Good platform. If you would like to contribute to Khaanachahiye.com you can do it here.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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