Sufyan Shaikh

There were three or four of us at the beginning, now we have more than a hundred volunteers. वो कहते है ना, लोग जुङते गए और कारवां बनता गया । As more ninjas came along, the caravan got longer.

I am the first food-ninja for khaanachahiye. On our first day,on 29th March, we delivered 1,200 food packets to the homeless living under theflyovers on Western Express Highway. I have seen this movement grow from thereto 70,000 plus meals a day, reaching 18 Lakh meals to date. It has been exciting,at the same time humbling journey for all of us at khaanchahiye. At the start,we were distributing food ourselves. We had to take the help of locals in thearea for crowd control. Now our processes have evolved, and we have specificPoints of Contact (POCs) in each area, who execute the last mile distribution.There were three or four of us at the beginning, now we have more than ahundred volunteers.

वो कहते है ना, लोग जुङते गए और कारवां बनता गया ।

As more ninjas came along, the caravan got longer.

During this journey, every one of us had to make sacrifices. I had to shift mypregnant wife to her parent’s place to be sure that I was not putting her atany risk while stepping out of home every day. I haven’t met her since. We onlytalk on the phone. Sometimes when we are talking, our baby inside her startskicking. That’s when the realization that I am far from my wife and kid at sucha wonderful time pains me the most. But you know what? I think it is all worthit. Every ninja that I know feels the same way. That could be the reason thatmost of us haven’t taken even a day’s break.

And the best part about the work is that the opportunities tocontribute go far beyond delivering food. For instance, two days back, I got acall from a fellow ninja, Sapna, about a homeless man in Andheri who neededmedical assistance. We reached the spot soon. The man’s name was Umesh Das. Hewas in frail health and had a large open wound on his body. We tried to get anambulance or a vehicle to take him to the hospital through various contacts,including some within the khaanachahiye family. But although Umesh didn’t haveany COVID-19 symptoms, people were skeptical because of the corona scare.Finally, after stubbornly pursuing for a few hours, through the police, we gotan ambulance. Then I, Sapna, and another friend of ours followed the ambulanceto the hospital. We ensured that Umesh’s wound was bandaged. On our way back,Umesh had his first meal in many days. We also bought him medicines andprovided a bed for him to sleep. Now we just have to keep checking on him everyfew days and ensure that Umesh gets a shelter before the rains begin.

While we were headed back home, only one thought kept ringing inmy mind - The fear of COVID-19 was far more lethal than the virus itself. Butif we, as Mumbaikars, overcome that fear and start looking out for each other,then even Corona is just another challenge that this city shall overcome

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Khaana Chahiye Foundation is a
non-profit organization based in Mumbai. It aims to combat the issue of hunger through relief efforts and advocacy initiatives. The organization started as a relief operation during the Covid-19 lockdown in Mumbai and became one of the most extensive crisis management operations in the city.

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