Coimbatore

Covid-19: Namma Navakkarai provides meals to personnel at the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The NGO, along with farmers and local people in the area, provides three meals a day to over 100 health workers, police and army personnel positioned at Walayar and Velanthavalam to screen people entering the state

Coimbatore

“It is thengaai saadam and thattapayiru poriyal for lunch today,” says Maheshwaran NS over the phone. A food truck has just left carrying lunch packets for over 100 people who are on duty on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. “The health department staff, the police, and the army are all camped at the border to screen COVID-19 cases to prevent entry into Tamil Nadu. They check vehicles entering the state and also conduct medical check-ups. They are on duty 24/7 to safeguard us.”

Maheshwaran is the founder and president of Namma Navakkarai, an NGO located at Navakkarai village in Walayar (20 km from the city) on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. The group that has 10 active volunteers recently revived the Oorani Lake in Mavuthampathi Panchayat that supports farming in the village.

Three meals a day

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Namma Navakkarai team volunteered at the camp that was set up to tackle COVID-19 and learnt that the food for the people on duty there arrived late and was insufficient. They decided to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for camp members at Walayar and Velanthavalam. They identified a centralised kitchen at Walayar, sought out a head cook and started. “ Our Mavuthampathi Panchayat supported us with provisions. As for vegetables, villagers in the border areas generously offered us regular supplies of tomatoes, onions, brinjal, drumstick, and lady’s finger from their farms. They turned up with baskets full of vegetables every day. It was heartening,” says Maheswaran.

Packed with nutrition

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border

Namma Navakkarai team prepare food for men on duty at the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Their day starts at the crack of dawn as they go about making breakfast. “We stick to a standard menu of idli, pongal, khichdi, or upma and ensure that we deliver by 8.00 am. Then, we prepare lunch that often includes tomato rice and brinjal poriyal or sambar rice with broad beans poriyal... This way, the personnel can have a bowl of vegetables every day. Dinner is rotis and a mixed vegetable gravy. We are a small team. We wear masks and maintain hygiene at the kitchen. We wash our hands regularly with sanitisers.”

Maheshwaran says contributions have been pouring in from people. “Someone dropped by and donated 100 kg of atta. Another person supplies five litres of milk every day. Now, we make tea, twice a day. When we wind up it is well past 10.00 pm. But, we want to continue as long a the camp does. This is just our way of showing gratitude to the people who are on duty to protect us.”

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 9:47:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/covid-19-namma-navakkarai-provides-meals-to-personnel-at-the-tamil-nadu-kerala-border/article31225329.ece

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