Two NGOs come together in Chennai to help families in need with groceries

The organisations have been helping around 1,000 families in parts of North Chennai, following the lockdown

April 29, 2020 01:48 pm | Updated 01:48 pm IST - CHENNAI

Youngsters aged 20-25 in North Chennai localities have been supporting two NGOs to distribute dry groceries to poor families

Youngsters aged 20-25 in North Chennai localities have been supporting two NGOs to distribute dry groceries to poor families

Two organisations have been helping around 1,000 families -- all of them with no income for the past month -- in parts of North Chennai

Naveen Narayanan, convenor of the Chennai Chapter of Udayan Shalini, and G. Sripriya of Golden Heart Foundation have together organised a system to provide dry rations to needy families in Erukancheri, Tondiarpet, Tiruvottiyur, Kodungaiyur and Basin Bridge localities.

It was a survey to find out how the students who were already being supported coping with the lockdown, says Mr. Naveen. Udayan Shalini helps students of single mothers in North Chennai to complete their education. The students chosen are from families whose monthly salary is less than ₹15,000.

Mr. Naveen undertook a survey and found that all the women had lost their jobs and by April, 90% of them had started taking loans. About 70% hadn’t received their salaries. Their survey also revealed that most of them wanted food security.

“We started delivering dry ration for 10 days to help them survive,” Mr. Naveen says.

While they started helping the families more people sought them out. The taluk office approached them to help destitute elderly and transgender persons. From the district Collector’s office the organisations received a list of around 3,000 persons who approached the taluk office or the Collectorate for help. “We asked the local postmen to identify the persons who needed help,” Mr. Naveen says. “We found that they live in groups and have usually an elderly parent or relative. We received more funds when we began delivering rations to them,” he says.

Ms. Sripriya, a school teacher in Sowcarpet, was born and raised in Erukancheri. She knows the area well. Her organisation helped during the 2015 floods thus establishing a good network of youngsters who deliver the rations at the doorstep of the families. “Around 41 young men in the 20 to 25 years age group, work 16 to 18 hours repacking the grains into packets and delivering them to people,” she says.

The volunteers have been provided passes to carry out their activities. Mr. Naveen says each family gets grocery worth ₹750 and ₹250 as cash to help them buy milk and vegetables. The organisations hope to continue their support till June. Mr. Naveen say the families will require a “jump start allowance to start life again in June.”

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