New Delhi: With a mission to fight hunger and malnutrition among the economically underprivileged people, ‘Rasoi On Wheels’, a Delhi based non-governmental organisation prepares fresh and nutritious home food and distributes it via mobile kitchen to the needy in Delhi and Gurugram (Gurgaon). ‘Rasoi On Wheels’, that started by serving 50 people per day, five years ago, now serves more than 1500 poor people every day. While talking to NDTV about the initiative, Manika Badhwar, one of the three founders of ‘Rasoi On Wheels’ said,
The underprivileged in India are often obliged with unhygienic leftover food because of which they don’t get sufficient nutrition and even end up falling sick. But with our mobile kitchen, we are trying to change this by providing hygienically packed nutritious meal box to them.
According to Ms. Badhwar, the organisation has set up a dedicated kitchen for preparing the food. Every morning, the kitchen staff starts preparing the food at around 3AM and the distributing van leaves the kitchen at 9 AM. The initiative is currently serving children at traffic signal, unaided schools, schools for differently-abled, people in slums, night shelters, old-age homes, hospitals and construction sites. Ms. Badhwar said,
The food is served to them respectfully so that they feel special and respected.
The food served to the needy everyday includes lentils, vegetables, fruits, rice, and chapatti. On special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries of the donors or their family members, and on festivals, the food includes special treats like ‘halwa-poori’, noodles, muffins, chocolates, and cakes.
While ‘Rasoi On Wheels’ prepares the food, identify the needy and distribute the meals, thousands of donors across Delhi-NCR provide financial support to it. Ms. Badhwar asserted,
Since the day the initiative has started, there has not been a single day when we have faced lack of sponsorship. We encourage the people to fulfil their Individual Social Responsibility or ISR. We receive so much from the society and so we must also give back to it. We are truly overwhelmed by the gracious support of the people. We welcome volunteers who wish to join us for distribution drives, or those who wish to sponsor meals. A meal for 100 children costs as little as Rs. 3500.
Seem Gupta, a 45-year-old homemaker and sponsor from Delhi, who has been sponsoring food for cancer patients since the past four years said to NDTV,
The boxes with warm food and cutlery could bring positivity and a smile on those suffering everyday. I feel each one of us who can afford the comforts of life must take this as their responsibility to help those in need.
Another donor, Ankit Mittal who frequently accompanies the mobile kitchen for the distribution of food said,
I visit slums where basic necessities are inaccessible. Rasoi on wheels at least takes the food to them. The meals that are meals being hygienically prepared and packed help the slum dwellers get some relief from their everyday struggle. Some people say that providing food will not help the poor in the long run as it will make them dependent on others. To those people I want to ask, how can staying hungry and being undernourished help them?
Talking about the impact of the initiative, Ms. Badhwar said,
Rasoi on Wheels has impacted many lives. After its intervention, the quality of life of many people improved. What has surprised us is that parents in slums have stared focusing on the health and education of their children as they get a wholesome meal at least once everyday. As they know that their children can be fed, they allow their children to engage in studies instead of taking them along in the struggle of earning a square meal. Many adults have stopped begging and have started selling flowers, books and other items on road-side for a living.
Apart from providing nutritous meal, the organisation regularly conducts distribution drives to provide for other needs of children like socks, blankets, stationary, toiletries and medicines. Going ahead, Rasoi On Wheels plans to expand, have more kitchens which can prepare at least 5,000-7,000 meals daily, have additional vans for distribution and wishes to add more volunteers as well.