Work schedules have been amended, many are left heartbroken and still have to endure hardships since March last year. The worst affected are the ones who are homeless and left to fend for themselves on the streets. They have no one waiting for them, no family to look after them, and no means to earn their livelihood to sustain a life on the streets.
The harsh weather conditions notwithstanding, the frequent lockdowns and unlock phases have not done much for the poor souls by the roadside. With small tea stalls and restaurants also getting shut due to the lockdown, a few morsels of food in a parcel is also out of bounds for these helpless souls who are marginalized. Strict lockdowns meant assembling outside temples and other institutions for prasad was also ruled out.
A number of organizations, social activists and NGOs have been consistently distributing food to weaker sections across the city. One such prominent social service organization is the Bharathi Seva Sangam (BSS), whose volunteers are working in tandem with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to provide food to the needy sections of our society in West Mambalam locality in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Last year too, they had volunteered to freshly prepare and serve food packets during the 21-day lockdown period with a few catering service providers. All food items are prepared and distributed following Covid protocols
BSS and RSS have donors and volunteers who raise funds for the selfless service on their own. They prepare a sumptuous lunch consisting of lemon rice, sambar rice, tomato rice, mixed veg rice and good old curd rice.
These precious morsels bring a smile to the face of the marginalized souls and there is an evening round of providing tiffin which doubles up as their early dinner too. Serving two square meals a day during a stringent lockdown and the harsh summer brings a much-wanted relief to the pavement dwellers and those daily wagers rendered unemployed by the economic situation.
These are indeed tough times and vaccination drives are the way to build immunity against the deadly second wave that’s ravaging across our population. Keeping an eye on extending all-round service, BSS and RSS is also organising vaccination camps for the general public. They are collaborating to organise special camps at schools and community halls to administer the vaccine doses on a first come first serve basis. BSS have also been distributing free health supplements, multivitamins and immunity building medicines to the needy.
Bharathi Seva Sangam (BSS) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have also been playing an important and responsible role of organising oxygen cylinders and helping locate ICU beds for critical patients with their vast network of swayamsevaks. Their exemplary networking skills are on display throughout the year and across localities. It’s their memorable service and service before self attitude which sets them apart.
While these selfless volunteers can be called as frontline workers, they’re indeed silent workers in every sense of the term. May the second wave subside at the earliest and let us stay safe and please do get vaccinated at the earliest available slot near your home.
Nagesh grew up in Kolkata and was drawn into all things intellectual and worldly. Being a commerce graduate, he has a varied professional experience drawn from banking, sports marketing, taxation, business development and advertising over the years across cities. He’s also an avid quizzer, film buff and a news junkie to boot.