The crisis induced by Covid-19 has brought many factors, hitherto mostly unnoticed, to light. One among them is the fact that humanity is here to stay and that we’re all in this together.
Several organisations, groups, and individuals have been doing their best to help the sick, poor, and migrant workers in the state. One such organisation is a church at Ramkote in Hyderabad, that is known to rush to the aid of the helpless in and around the area.
During any other normal week, the CSI Wesley Church feeds many of the less fortunate forced to live on the streets. The desolate in and around the area know that they can walk in to the church every Wednesday for stomach-filling, tasty food that is also healthy. Most times, members of the church sponsor food in memory of their loved ones, and other times, it’s the church that pays for it.
“We started feeding the poor once a week over four years ago. It costs us anywhere between Rs 1,200 to Rs 20,000, depending on the menu, which depends on whoever sponsors the food. The menu ranges from lemon rice to chicken curry and fried rice,” informs Dara Johnson, Poor Fund Secretary of the church.
But when Covid-19 struck, the church knew that once-a-week was not going to be enough. Members y realised that there are several daily wage labourers and migrant workers who are now penniless and without food.
That’s when they decided to distribute food, two meals a day, to as many as 400 people every day, ever since the lockdown was announced by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on March 23.
A group of 10-15 members of the church gathers every morning at around 10 am in the church premises and begin cooking and packing food. “All of us members maintain social distancing, wear masks and gloves, and carry out our work amid clean, sanitised and hygienic conditions,” informs Prabodh Dasari, treasurer of the church.
Interestingly, the church has a Muslim among one of the three cooks. While one group helps with groceries, another helps with helping out the cook, another, with packing the food in boxes and another, sets out to distribute.
These food packets/boxes are distributed in areas including Koti, Narayanguda, Ramkote, Abids, and others. The very sight of their church van is enough to bring smiles across the faces of the desolate. Their beneficiaries include migrants and anybody that’s homeless on the streets. They ensure that the food they give lasts for dinner time too.
“Hunger is a reality, even more in times like this. Our intention was to be of help to anyone, irrespective of religion, caste, colour, or language. These testing times gave the church an opportunity to come together to put ‘Faith into practice.’ I commend the congregation of CSI Wesley church, Ramkote for rising to the occasion and donating generously to the cause,” says Rev. U. Daniel, Presbyter-in-charge of the church.
Asked if they had to face any challenges, he says, “Initially, we didn’t have sufficient rice bags and were also apprehensive of permits by the police. Later on, donation started pouring in well, and the police too allowed us to continue after they witnessed our genuine efforts.”
Several people of different faiths, especially Hindus, have sponsored rice bags. “They saw the work the church was doing on our Facebook page and donated a few bags of rice. Their support was so genuine, they did not even mention their names,” says M. Solomon Prem Kumar, Property Secretary, CSI Wesley Church, Ramkote in Hyderabad.
The church’s efforts have been acknowledged and lauded by the Ranga Reddy Collector. She has also informed the church about people in other areas that need help, and the church was more than happy to oblige.
The food they distribute has several items.
“We’d prepare lemon rice, tomato rice, vegetable rice, and sometimes chicken too. We also supplied water and buttermilk,” Mohd. Javid, one of the three cooks, tells us. “It costs us over 5,500 per day on average,” informs the treasurer, Prabodh Dasari.
Interestingly, on the first Friday of Ramzan, the church got the cook to prepare lip-smacking haleem to feed more than a 1,000 people on the streets. On days like Good Friday and others, the church tries to feed more people.
Sometimes, some families have come forward and celebrated their birthdays by donating to the cause. #KhabarLive #hydnews