Reaching Out and Impacting Communities During a Crisis

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As the coronavirus pandemic is spreading across the country, with new cases on an upward trend, we continue to see how civil society is determined to help the ones most directly affected by the lockdown, and our medical responders. It is in times like these that we see the human spirit – the giving spirit – rising above the challenges to make a difference.

41 Clubs of India and Jana Small Finance Bank
Association of 41 Clubs of India, a pan India zero administration cost NGO in partnership with Jana Small Finance Bank is providing weekly ration packets to the under-privileged sections of the society.  This partnership is for distribution in the cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai.

“We are happy that Jana Small Finance Bank chose us as their NGO partner under their CSR activity. In these challenging times, our partnership will give much-needed assistance to those affected the most. The 41 Clubs of India has a track record of doing extensive community service,” said Babji, President Association of 41 Clubs of India.

Volunteers from 41 Clubs of India are distributing 12,000 packets of everyday essential groceries to needy people on a weekly basis in the four metropolitan cities. Each packet contains ration that can feed a family of four.

As India grapples with a lockdown to arrest the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the poor and the daily wagers who are the most adversely affected. 41 Clubs of India has so far provided over 8.5 lakh cooked meals and 30,000 weekly provision packets to over 1 million underprivileged people, across India.

PepsiCo India and CII Foundation
Further intensifying its efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, PepsiCo India joined hands with CII Foundation today to commit two million meals to the marginalised communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As part of PepsiCo’s #GiveMealsGiveHope global programme, these meals will be distributed amongst families of farmers, Self Help Groups (SHGs) and migrant workers across key States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. With this latest partnership, PepsiCo India has upped its commitment to provide over seven million meals to the underprivileged and marginalised families impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak across India.

Annamrita Foundation
The Annamrita Foundation stood up, pro-actively and their team started planning for the challenges that might pose in the future. No sooner the schools too were shut down in Haryana on March 18, 2020, the Foundation pressed into service its fleet of 100 food vehicles for the delivery of life-sustaining dry ration, that is, grains distribution to the more than 2,500 schools, which is acting as a boon straight out of heaven’s kitchen. These are the same vehicles that were once transporting education enriching cooked midday meal.

Their advance planning of getting geared up for the novel COVID-19 pandemic is nothing but short of a model case study. The moment the virus started showing its deadly pangs, towards swiping the masses – shutting their immune systems down – they stepped in, the unsung heroes – the nutrition squad, the MEN who became MOTHERS. The purpose and motive behind the move is to have each of the poor and deprived 2.5 lakh hungry school children of government primary and upper-primary schools, get the raw material for a balanced diet – for a balance period March 18 to 31.

When the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the lockdown for 21 days, Annamrita Foundation pulled up their socks and stepped into its shoes of responsibility again and carried out a similar exercise of grains delivery for April, under these extremely trying circumstances.

2500 schools were given tonnes of material by the drivers, loaders and these administration staff-agents.

The brave-hearts of the Foundation had to ensure many things, including the sanitisation of grains and the gunny bags, cleanliness of vehicles, quantifying requirement of every school, unloading the material in schools, and then liaising with the concerned SPOC – the teachers at school – ensuring compliance of social distancing, etc.

Dhananjaya Krishna Das, Vice-Chairman, North India, Annamrita Foundation said, “This missionary zeal is duly motivated by his Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj who established the Foundation on such principles way back in 2003 when the first 500 meals were served from ISKCON Delhi. He inspires us by making us understand the teachings of Lord Krishna that is “Para-Upkara” meaning helping others, therefore we already are going all the way out to serve the students taking a high risk on our lives as well.”

He further stated that observing the current situation when the lockdown has again been extended until May 3, 2020, they envisage that many such missions will be required apart from just distribution of the grains in the future too. Rest assured these ‘COVID Warriors’ will be seen silently working without recognition.

Akshaya Patra
Aiding the Government’s relief efforts to help people affected by the complete lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has already served over Two Crore (20 million) meals to vulnerable communities, such as migrant population, daily-wage labourers, industrial workers, homeless people, etc., in various locations across the country. The Foundation has been working to serve these people every day by providing freshly cooked meals and food relief kits with essential groceries while working closely with the Government of India, various State Governments, UT Administrations and civic bodies.

The relief feeding endeavour has been initiated in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi and NCR, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Akshaya Patra is utilising its kitchen network to prepare the meals and deliver them to the centres assigned by the authorities where it is then served to people in need. Simultaneously, packaging centres have been set up in various locations across the country where food relief kits are packed with essential groceries based on the local palate. The kits to be distributed in Bangalore, for instance, contain rice, tur dal, oil, spices, sambar and rasam powder, and vegetables which are known to have a long shelf-life, such as potatoes and pumpkins. Each kit has groceries sufficient for either 42 or 28 meals.

As of April 17, 2020, Akshaya Patra, with its supporting organisations, has cumulatively served 2,19,44,385 meals — 93,57,839 freshly cooked meals and 3,02,541 food relief kits (1,25,86,546 meal servings).

In this endeavour, the Foundation has been supported by proactive corporate partners and individual donors. Sudha Murty and Narayana Murthy and their family contributed 10 Crores from their personal funds toward Akshaya Patra’s COVID-19 relief work. Their generous donation has enabled Akshaya Patra to distribute 1.33 lakh food relief kits, which are equivalent to 55,86,000 meals.

Several corporate houses such as the Biocon Foundation, Capgemini, CISCO, Coca–Cola, CLP, Deutsche Bank, DLF Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gland Pharmaceuticals, HT Parekh Foundation, Hero Moto Corp, Infosys Foundation, LG Electronics, Morgan Stanley, Nestle India, PepsiCo Foundation, Sarojini Trust, Texas Instruments, Vedanta, Vivo, Walmart and many others, have come forward to contribute to the relief feeding endeavour.

We have also received in-kind support for the endeavour with General Mills (Mumbai) donating cookies and cakes for distribution in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Noida, Britannia donating around 20,000 packs of Good Day biscuits to be distributed in Bangalore, and Epigamia donating 17,000 premium yoghurt cups for distribution in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Similarly, renowned Bollywood personalities, such as Hrithik Roshan and Raveena Tandon, have also donated to the Foundation’s efforts.

Also supporting the Foundation are motivated volunteers who have selflessly come forward at this hour of need. These include volunteering groups, such as Inspiring Indians and Corona Warriors, as well as corporate volunteers from organisations such as the Infosys Foundation and Biocon.

Speaking about these efforts, Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “We have been able to serve over 2 crore meals to people in need during these difficult times due to the collaborative efforts of everyone involved. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Government of India, State Governments, UT Administrations, and local civic bodies for placing their trust and confidence in our service. I also want to thank our partners, corporate and individual donors, volunteers and well-wishers for standing by us and rendering their invaluable services. I sincerely hope that the situation will improve soon and people will be able to get back to their day-to-day life. Until then, we will continue our efforts to serve as many people as possible.”

Sri Adhikari Brothers
In response to an appeal made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the nation, Sri Adhikari Brothers have pledged to take care of 1000 families in need per month till the COVID-19 pandemic is contained. To ensure seamless and swift action, they have associated with BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha which is globally known for its social services to mankind.

Commenting on the announcement, Markand Adhikari, said, “We are amidst a global crisis and there is no real clarity on how soon we will see normalcy. Our country is no exception to these unforeseen circumstances. Thus in line with the appeal made by our Honourable Prime Minister, we are doing our bit. In addition to providing external help, we are ensuring that our employees who are our pillars of growth remain unaffected. No pay cuts or lay-offs will be done despite the impact on the economy.”

He further added, “Out of India’s total population of 1.39 billion, it is adjudged that 10 per cent of Indians hold 80 per cent of the country’s wealth. Today is the time for them to take responsibility and give the nation back in its time of need. If even 5 per cent of them help 10 families each, imagine the mammoth help that the nation will receive. It may reduce the impact of the economic crisis drastically.”

In addition to financial help, Sri Adhikari Brothers also believe that those who are staying home for the larger good are doing a great service to the nation.

People are not just helping themselves, but the entire country by staying indoors. At such times, keeping the morale high and staying positive is important. Their most popular sitcom ‘ShrimaanShrimati’ is already on air and to further help ease the quarantine times, they have opened up their library to national broadcaster Doordarshan to help entertain Bharat during these trying times.  

Walmart, Flipkart and Walmart Foundation
Walmart Inc., Flipkart and the Walmart Foundation are supporting India’s COVID-19 response with a combined effort that will contribute needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and financial support for organizations providing essential relief materials to farmers and small businesses.

Walmart Inc. and Flipkart will spend INR 383 million to bring in-kind donations into India to help with the front-line response efforts. The companies will focus on providing PPE, such as N95 masks and medical gowns, for distribution by non-government organizations (NGOs) to public healthcare workers. Walmart and Flipkart have already secured 300,000 N95 masks and 1 million medical gowns, and they will continue to leverage their global supply chains to source these critical necessities for medical workers who stand at the frontline of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in India.

In addition to this in-kind support, the Walmart Foundation is donating a total of INR 77 million to Goonj and Srijan, NGOs supporting vulnerable communities through the crisis.  The funds will be used to support the procurement of essential relief materials, such as food, medicine, and hygiene items, for distribution by the organizations to support farmers, rural communities, and the micro-businesses.

“Our customers and associates in India have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and our hearts continue to be with them,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart and President of the Walmart Foundation. “In times like these, we all need to come together to support our communities and the efforts of healthcare workers, NGOs and government organisations. We are grateful to all those provide relief in India and we want to help.”

“Our Flipkart teams are working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with care and compassion. We are very proud of them. The emergency relief efforts we are announcing today underscore our commitment to continuing to work with the private and public sector in India to respond to this unprecedented challenge,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group.

While keeping supply lines open to ensure that Indian consumers have access to essential daily necessities, Walmart and Flipkart are also taking important steps to help protect public health and the safety of customers and associates as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. These efforts include enhanced hygiene practices across the supply chain and delivery network, insurance and health benefits for workers, contactless deliveries where possible and supporting cashless payments. 

OYO Townhouse
OYO Hotels & Homes is opening the doors to its hotels and offering free stays to doctors, nurses and other medical first responders who are helping in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) in India. Starting with select OYO Townhouse hotels in Gurgaon and Bangalore, medical first responders who are in need of a place to stay and are facing any accommodation issues will receive free accommodations on the display of identification cards.

Commenting on the development, Ankit Gupta, Chief Operating Officer and SVP – Frontier Businesses, OYO India and South Asia said, “We at OYO are doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of the healthcare professionals who are our frontline against COVID-19 and it is our duty to support them. We have initiated similar efforts in the United States, Malaysia, Thailand & Nepal. We wholeheartedly thank our asset owners as well for their selfless partnership in this decision. Without their support, these initiatives cannot succeed. We will continue to explore every avenue to ensure all possible support for healthcare professionals in India.”

Those on the frontlines in the medical community can book select OYO Townhouse hotels on its app or website to get their reservation for the shortlisted OYO hotels. By producing the valid identification highlighting the hospital or clinic affiliation, OYO Hotels will cover all the costs of accommodation for the medical professionals. All guidelines with respect to health and hygiene as prescribed by the WHO and India’s Ministry of Health are being followed at the selected hotels. The staff of the hotel is also taking the utmost precaution to ensure that due sanitisation happens round the clock.

Gyan Parkash Tayal, OYO Townhouse Asset Owner of a hotel in Gurgaon said, “When the OYO team got in touch with us to offer our hotel free of cost to the doctors and nurses in the vicinity, I immediately agreed as this was an opportunity to give back to our true fighters. OYO has been with us in our difficult times so I want to be with them to fight this crisis together. The staff of the hotel is following all relevant health advisories with regards to precautions to be taken in the wake of COVID-19. The staff has been trained to follow standard procedures like wearing masks, gloves and are ensuring minimal touchpoints with guests and other staff. Food is also being served in disposable items to ensure safety and sanitation.”

Another asset owner of OYO Townhouse in Bangalore, Nagamal Reddy said, “I have been associated with OYO since 2019 and we have received extensive advisories and regular updates on the recent developments. I have collaborated with OYO to serve our country’s heroes by taking care of their accommodation needs. We are all united in our efforts to fight COVID-19 and provide support to healthcare professionals of the country.”

Following the launch of a similar initiative in the USA and other international markets, OYO will provide free accommodation services thanks to its hotel partners in the shortlisted OYO Townhouse properties to doctors, nurses, medical staff who are on the frontlines of India’s medical mobilization. This initiative is separate from Donate a Night and marks a series of efforts aimed at supporting India’s frontline healthcare.

In addition to this initiative, OYO’s ‘Donate A Night’, is a crowd-funding campaign where users can voluntarily contribute to donate one night’s accommodation for people who need it the most – first responders like doctors, medical staff, emergency services personnel, policemen as well as low-income individuals such as stranded daily wagers or migrants. As part of its fight against COVID-19, OYO has also joined forces with Apollo Hospitals as a part of Apollo’s Project Stay I (Stay Isolated) to develop and support accommodation requirements of suspected COVID-19 patients requiring quarantine or self-isolation.