- Those serving food to COVID patients are saving families: Chef Goila
- The portal lists volunteers who are willing to cook meals for patients
- Volunteers can choose to provide meals on charity basis or charge for it
New Delhi: “The current situation has left no choice with us but to stand up and come forward to help each other in the community,” said celebrity chef and entrepreneur Saransh Goila who’s initiative ‘Covid Meals For India’ is helping thousands of COVID-19 patients in self-isolation get home-cooked meals. According to Mr. Goila, the initiative is a website curated and designed for COVID-19 patients looking for home-cooked meals, tiffin services and home chefs across the country that aims to connect volunteer home chefs with patients who cannot cook and require daily home-cooked meals.
https://t.co/xmu1ZGd5fX is now live. The platform helps Covid patients and healthcare workers with home food options pan India. This website hopefully will make it faster and easier for homechefs/tiffin services to connect with patients, directly. #covidmealsforindia pic.twitter.com/DueAR1C8CW
— Saransh Goila (@SaranshGoila) April 25, 2021
As the second wave of COVID-19 started in March, Chef Goila started receiving messages on social media seeking suggestions for food delivery services that can provide meals to COVID patients in home isolation. Prompted by these messages, the Chef started collating a pan India list of home chefs, tiffin providers, cooks, and restaurants who are willing to cook for COVID patients on a Google spreadsheet. Leveraging his million-plus following on social media (Instagram and Twitter combined), Chef Goila was able to crowdsource several names who came forward to volunteer under the initiative. While talking to NDTV, Chef Goila said,
The current wave of COVID-19 in India has created a unique problem. People are falling sick in clusters. So many people are becoming ill together. This means that people who are isolating at home do not have home cooked food services because their own friends and families cannot come to their rescue because of the risk of transmission. This is unique because generally when you fall sick, your neighbour or friend or family would offer you food but, in this scenario, not only is the sick person confined in the isolation for a longer span of time but also at the same time they would not want others to get infected in the attempt to get them food.
As the list grew, the Google spreadsheet became difficult for COVID patients to zero in on their location. Thus, the spreadsheet was turned into a website which was launched on April 25. It is a portal for listing all home chefs offering meals across the country. The website currently has over 4,000 volunteer home chefs across more than 400 cities in the country. There is no exact number of meals that have gone out through this initiative, but according to Mr. Gaiola, the traffic on the site is high. Explaining the process of availing the service, Chef said,
A patient just needs to go to covidmealsforindia.com and put in their state name and city code to get a list of volunteers offering meals near them and place their orders. Any COVID-19 patient in isolation who wants home cooked meals can also reach out to us through WhatsApp number 8882891316. We have partnered with WhatsApp directly to create a chat bot. An individual can simply send a ‘Hi’ on this number and they will be asked to send in the city code after which they will receive the contact details of chefs volunteering in their area.
Now you can Whatsapp 8882891316 directly to connect a Covid patient with a Homechef or volunteer for home meals. This list is pan India. If you don't find your city you can reach out to me directly here. Thanks @WhatsApp ???? @gupshup for helping with this. #covidmealsforindia pic.twitter.com/5Hu1BXMq0I
— Saransh Goila (@SaranshGoila) May 5, 2021
According to Chef Goila, a home chef can choose to keep the service on charity basis and provide the food free of cost or they can choose to charge for it. Patients in need can also opt for free of cost meals by selecting “Looking for free charity food only” on the website.
In Delhi, Chef Radhika Khandelwal is helping the sick and the needy. Explaining the workings of the meal services, Ms. Khaldelwal shared on Instagram some tips to guide volunteers and home chefs who are willing to be part of this initiative.
Another volunteer Ankita Aggarwal shared that she along with her mother delivered 101 plates of masala khichdi in a day.
— Ankita Agarwal (@puneeer) May 15, 2021
Sharing about the service provided by him in Haridwar, another user said,
We are now on the covidmealsforindia.com portal and happy to serve COVID patients in Haridwar and nearby region.
— Dr. Chinmay Pandya #AWGPwithINDIA #COVID19 (@DrChinmayP) April 26, 2021
Chef Goila emphasised on making use of the technology in these times of crisis to help others while keeping oneself safe. He also said that each meal served to patients helps in saving families. Mr. Goila said,
COVID-19 has put on the back foot, the system is broken, be it citizens or the government. Hence, young people who can put themselves at slightly more risk than others must come forward and help people in every way possible. The technology is a significant tool that enables us to help even from our homes. I am proud that I have used the technology to bring together thousands of people in India to help out others. So, even if these home chefs cook only two extra meals, they are actually helping two families. Every meal matters. Mother Teresa used to say that if you cannot feed hundreds of people, feed at least one. Do one good deed and it will go a long way.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.