Tamil Nadu

A family feeds the quarantined during pandemic

Pandian and his family packs food for the quarantined people.   | Photo Credit: BASHKARAN N

As the pandemic surges rendering entire families ill, incapacitated and quarantined, good Samaritans have stepped in to fill in the void with goodness and hope.

The D.S. Pandian household has stepped in to feed home quarantined COVID positive persons, with three home cooked meals for the quarantine period free of cost. Until a year ago, Mr. Pandian, locally known as Guruji Pandian was running a nursery and primary school for special children.

“The second surge in infections and the flooding of hospitals with patients got us thinking of helping out in someway,” says Mr. Pandian. So, it all started with a WhatsApp message forwarded in various groups offering home cooked meals to people in home quarantine. “We saw families, all members infected and no ability to cook, and no help to provide for.” For Mr. Pandian and his wife Kalpana, it was also a personal experience. “Our own daughter-in-law had conceived, when she got her infection and was quarantined during the first wave. There was no help. So we knew what it felt like,” he says.

So, only a fortnight ago, just before the cases began to surge in Krishnagiri town, the Pandian household slowly started sending out food to the few families quarantined. “Initially it started with just about 10 to 30 packets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” But soon, with the cases rising in leaps and bounds, the family got flooded with requests that they have started to send out close to 150 packets of food each meal of the day.

Mr. Pandian’s family stood together to take up the initiative that demanded dedicated labour from dawn to dusk. “When we got a call from a quarantined family saying that was the first good meal they had eaten in 5 days, it showed a purpose,” says Mr. Pandian.

The food is dedicated to nutrition with a healthy mix of eggs, kashayam, Kaba sura kudineeru, millets, sprouts, lenthil snacks, idly,dosa, idiappam, three types of coloured vegetables among others.

When they started, it was the household groceries that was used. Slowly, as word spread, they got support from Olirum Krishnagiri, a local NGO that provided them with groceries. Saravana Bhavan, a hotel on the highway also helped to provide assistance. “Sometimes, when there is difficulty is cooking, they offer to cook,” says Mr. Pandian. As a rule, they refuse to collect donations. Instead, even a packet of salt can be donated to feed people, he says.

While the household labour is no strain, the delivery is becoming difficult with quarantined families scattered across the town. For now, Mr. Pandian’s two sons are delivering food at the door of the quarantined houses. “They call each family upon arrival, and leave the food out.”

Asked if he was concerned about the safety of his family, he says he does worry a bit. “I’m 61 and there is concern. But, this is larger than my worry. We should do something,” he quips. Volunteers to deliver food is what we need, he says.

Mr. Pandian can be contacted on 98655 68355.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 3:04:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-family-feeds-the-quarantined-during-pandemic/article34542230.ece

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