Ajit JohnDeath, sorrow and suffering are nowthe recurring motifs of this day. As the number of people testing positive increases, people have continued to die leaving behind heartbroken relatives and friends. The demand for oxygen, beds and other medical equipment still remains persistently high. However in all this one needs to remember that there is other more basic and necessary requirements of people. Food is very important and more importantly eating it at the right time especially when one in sick. There are a large number of people who have tested positive and now undergoing isolation at home. Now with the restricted lockdown, restaurants are not open but kitchens are still being operated and many are delivering to residences.Ketki Bagalkar, a resident of Goa for a couple of years has been helping people who have tested positive by delivering them food. She said “This is something that needs to be done. These people are stuck at home and cannot move out. A large number live alone and are elderly. I pick up the food packets from Black Market Restaurant and leave it on the ground floor or outside their door. I send them a picture via whatsapp and they come out and pick it. It is entirely contact free. The number of people volunteering has increased to 6 so the number of families we have to deliver to has decreased. This however I believe will continue for a while because of the number of infections continuously remaining high”.Kushi Dawda who runs a cloud kitchen said she was focused on ensuring everyone had a safe experience. She said “We ensure a contactless encounter. We have staff that does only deliveries. He has his masks and gloves. Once we receive the payment online, he delivers the food. It is left at their doorstep. We supply breakfasts, lunch and dinner. We focus on Panjim only. He does around ten to twenty deliveries a day. It is very hectic. But it needs to be done. They are sick and need to eat. The entire situation is such a mess.” Prahlad Sukhtankar the man behind Black Market restaurant said they were only doing deliveries and they had identified a few volunteers who would come over and pick the food packets. He said “We prepare around 100 meals a day for people who are in isolation due to the virus. This is being done absolutely free of cost. I get called by some organizations who are involved in delivering food absolutely free and I prepare it. This has to be done, there is no doubt. ”Anisha Hassan from Saligao stories said her staff wore the appropriate clothing whenever they went over to deliver food. She said “They leave the food stuff on a chair which is left outside the house. The big problem being faced is that a number of houses are on the 4 th of 5th floor and delivery people are very reluctant to go up. We are trying to figure out how to handle it. So many people live alone. In a case last week, the mother fell ill and the young boys needed to be fed. We have two models. One is a paid service and we deliver in the north in places like Parra, Panjim, Saligao and then we also provide free food to people also only in the north. It is just dal and rice but people who are sick need to eat something. There are a lot of people doing deliveries but very few doing it for free. There is great hardship being endured by people and we need to come together to help. ”
This looks like a sad problem that will stay with us for a long time. One can only hope more people get on the bandwagon to assist the needy.