Two friends launch 'The Good Food Project’ to feed crematorium staff workers

A COVID-19 victim being cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat in Delhi on Sunday.  

Two friends, Nandini Ghosh and Shray Gupta, were speaking over the phone last Sunday afternoon. They were trying to find out ways to help people in COVID times. Later that evening, they decided to venture out with 100 food packets and distributed them at Nigambodh Ghat.

Ms. Ghosh, a 29-year-old management consultant, said it was her helplessness that helped her come up with “The Good Food Project”.

“Ever since the second wave struck, a lot of us have been feeling helpless. Last Sunday, the feeling grew stronger, and I called Shray, who has been helping people with resources already, asking him if we could do something. Then we decided to help the crematoriums staff workers with food,” she said.

Mr. Gupta chipped in ₹10,000 and the duo bought 100 dinner packets.

By the evening, both were outside Nigambodh Ghat, talking to the officials about food provisions at the facility.

Watch | What is happening in India's crematoriums?

“First we were shocked because bodies were still coming in. A worker told us that bodies come all night these days. The crematorium office staff person said they provide all meals to the workers. But when we asked the workers, they said they are managing themselves. We gave dinner packets to about 30 of them,” Mr. Gupta said. The rest of 70 packets were distributed to other workers at the crematorium, he added.

Taking the idea forward and calculating the amount — ₹50,000 a day if they fed even 100 people daily at a few crematoriums — they decided to set up a crowdfunding online, which has been steadily growing.

By Sunday night, they formed a team of 10 persons — all friends, including Kriya Bhansali from Mumbai, managing social media and research, and Siddharth Pandey in London arranging and coordinating volunteers from London.

By Monday, over 15 people were ready to go and help the team with delivering food to crematoriums. “Most of the people who agreed to volunteer were those who had faced a personal loss due to COVID-19,” Mr. Gupta said.

Personal loss

Twenty-nine-year-old Dawar Naqvi said he became a part of the project because one of his uncles — a retired Army Colonel — died of COVID-19 and there was no one during his funeral. “There were no relatives there, not even his children. His wife was still in the hospital fighting the virus. He was cremated by non-family members. We were in so much pain that a person who always had a well-decorated life was all alone in his last journey. People in the crematorium are doing selfless service, helping them is my way of giving back to the society,” he said.

The group delivered food packets to 200 crematorium staff workers on Wednesday, 400 each on Thursday and Friday and planned for 800 on Saturday.

The team members wear PPE kits and take all the precautions before hitting the ground, they said.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:16:46 AM |

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