Bike squad feeds much-neglected graveyard workers daily

Bike squad feeds much-neglected graveyard workers everyday

Heaven’s Angels

A member of the Covid Biker Relief Squad gives a food packet to a graveyard worker. (R) Members of the squad. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A group of young bikers are feeding a community considered the most vulnerable and largely forgotten even as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the town.

Called the coronavirus Biker Relief Squad, the volunteers built a rapport with the graveyard workers as they bring them their daily meals.

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Each morning, the group gathers at St Joseph’s College, Shanthinagar, packs grocery and cooked food and distributes them across the town.

“In the last week of March, our professors wanted to know if we would like to volunteer,” recollects Rohit Rajiv, part of the squad, and who did his master’s degree in social work from the college.

“We didn’t know what the volunteering was for. A group of my friends and I decided to go to our college to find out. There, we saw packaging and segregation of groceries and cooked food. This was basically for blue-tent workers with funding from different NGOs,” he said. Other volunteers took part in the effort besides the six students. They helped by segregating rice, dal and other items to make food kits.

The starting point 

For the student squad, this was only the starting point. Using their social work skills, they decided to go mainstream and help people whose voices are unheard.

“Along with the daily wage earners, we began serving (food) to graveyard workers for whom help doesn’t reach easily. There are many graveyards at Bannerghatta Road,” Rajiv said.

“Once you are inside the graveyard premises, you find four to five families. We have worked with graveyard workers before so communicating with them
is not a problem. They wait for us every day,” he added.

On seeing their bikes, children run up to them and greet “how are you,  anna?”. While this work takes up their morning, the squad spends the afternoon distributing grocery kits arriving from different organisations.

Members of the squad take all necessary precautions before embarking on their daily food distribution.

“We have people calling us up during emergencies, especially when they are stuck. We verify these calls and then deliver the kits,” Rajiv said.

Several organisations call the squad for packing, distributing, loading and unloading grocery. “We have also linked ourselves to police stations,” Rajiv said.

“If someone needs food, they can either contact the organisations or the police station close to their place. They, in turn, will alert us,” he said.

“We keep moving around the city and helping,” added Rajiv, even as he is preparing for another day of service at the graveyard.

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