Bengaluru, my new home, continues to surprise me every day with its idiosyncrasies. I am slowly falling in love with this place, and that is in spite of the traffic. Alright, you ask, why this sudden exhortation and public display of affection? Well, because I have just found one more reason to fall in love with the city and its people.
When you see a kid begging at a traffic signal or a homeless old lady sitting on the sidewalk asking for money, what do you do? Aren’t you torn between whipping out your wallet and also doubting whether this money would go into someone else’s pocket? (that movie Naan kadavul left a lasting impression!) And then we tell ourselves not giving them money is for the greater good and move on. Or some of us take the pains to buy the person a meal and feel a little better.
Now imagine a system where this would be an automated process. Where the needy could go to an outlet, get a coupon from a volunteer, go to a nearby hotel and exchange it for a good meal? Sounds too good? Then let me introduce you to the good folks at this initiative called Bengaluru Meals (BM). These are ordinary people like us, people with respectable IT jobs (had to be, right?), Chartered accountants, social entreprenuers etc. They are coming up with a plan to take care of the first basic need of humans i.e., roti.
Anybody who is remotely active on social media these days would have heard/read about the wonderful Operation Sulaimani being conducted in Calicut and how the DC there sent the hunger statistics south with a simple yet brilliant idea. BM is inspired from that program, only with tiny tweaks here and there to fit the scale that Bengaluru, being the city it is, deserves and warrants.
The objective of the program is singular – hunger–free Bengaluru. The efforts are directed towards identifying core areas to begin with, spread the idea, get more people involved, and ultimately to make sure that no person in need stays hungry. The funds and donations received would be converted into meal coupons which will be distributed at designated outlets all over the city.
When a hungry person approaches one such place, the volunteers would hand out the coupon, and direct the person to the nearest hotel where the coupon can be exchanged. The program would tie up with hotels and restaurants and sensitise them towards this idea. The aim is two-fold: give food to the needy and do it with the dignity every human deserves.
Now, what can you do? For starters, you – the readers- can spread the word, and if you are convinced, donate a little. The pilot is to be rolled out soon and once it takes off, BM would need volunteers, interns, managers and any sort of help would be appreciated. The city of innovations has taken one tinier step and has come up with yet another innovation to help the needy and feed the hungry. It’s time for us to give back to the city that continues to shower us (literally) with a lot of good things. So, to all those who have spent their precious three minutes reading this, it’s time to restore our faith in humanity. Because, if not us, then who and if not now, then when?
Donations could be given in the name of:
‘Samanya Kannadiga Prathisthana Trust’ – Bengaluru Meals
A/c No :019788700000122.
A/c Type: Current A/c
IFSC Code: YESB0000197
Yes Bank, Jayanagara Branch
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Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/BengaluruMeals
Or visit our site: www.Bengalurumeals.in
Or mail us at: Info@bengalurumeals.in
Amrutha Varshini is a IRS officer and volunteer with Bengaluru Meals.