COVID-19: Chennai singer comes to needy people's aid

COVID-19: Chennai singer comes to needy people's aid

Workers wear masks to protect themselves in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at Chennai airport, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (PTI Photo)

A singer by profession, Bhuvana Seshan knew she would be free at least till March 31 as the music industry was under lockdown because of  the COVID-19 outbreak.

As it became clear on Sunday evening that this city would go under curfew, the woman posted on Facebook that she and her friends would be happy to deliver groceries, vegetables, and essentials to senior citizens who can’t step out owing to their age or health. 

What started off as a small initiative with just seven close friends, the group now has 53 volunteers, panning across the metropolis, since Monday morning delivering essentials and food to at least 400 people who have difficulties in stepping out of their homes.

From musicians to software professionals to businessmen to a retired army officer – the group of volunteers is utilising their “free time” in helping the needy.

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As requests for food also came up from several people, the volunteers enlisted support from two NGOs that have allowed them to use their community kitchens to prepare food and deliver it to pavement dwellers, daily-wage labourers, and patients.

“I never expected such an overwhelming response. I keep getting calls as I speak from youngsters who would want to be a volunteer and deliver goods to the needy. And the requests from people haven’t stopped which underlines the fact that many people need help in this crucial hour,” Bhuvana Seshan told DH.

The volunteers either drop the essentials at the doorstep or wear gloves and take necessary precautions to avoid any contact.

Working seamlessly with the help of WhatsApp, the requests are put on the group created especially for this purpose in the personal messaging app and those residing nearby are assigned the job of delivering the goods.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Sriram, who resides in the Kodambakkam area here, told DH that he had received requests from several elderly people to get food delivered from restaurants. “Since elders can’t cook, many called me to get breakfast and lunch for them. And these people also ask for fruits and vegetables. Me and two of my colleagues have delivered food for at least 150 people in the area,” he said.

The power of social media is such that the post by Bhuvana Seshan reached many professionals living abroad whose parents are here. “We got several requests from such people asking groceries and vegetables to be delivered to their parents. While many sent us money through digital wallets, some paid us cash,” she said.

The volunteers have also delivered medicines to four senior citizens but only after checking and receiving their current-dated prescriptions. Her son Advaith Sriram, who is also part of the group, said they have been making “special food” for patients according to their needs.

“For example, two cancer patients needed food and an old couple wanted us to deliver home-cooked red rice for them. Since the number is less, volunteers cook at their homes and deliver it. For others, the food is prepared at the community kitchen,” he said.

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