First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The lockdown that has been imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus has added to the insecurity of many people as they are confined at their homes without any means to earn for their basic necessities.
There already have been a few instances whereby some people have died not because of the virus but due to hunger.
With a target to provide relief to people who have been hit hard by the prohibitory order, Nepal Tarun Dal Kerabari, a sister organization of Nepali Congress, started distributing food through its Food Bank campaign with the tagline ‘Huney le DiyeraJaun, Nahune le Liyera…’, which basically means a request for people who can afford to donate food and those in need to avail them.
In recent days, the team’s work has come in the limelight and people across the country have been applauding the initiative. Apparently, this service is not something new for the team as its members were involved in distributing food to the needy people of Kerabari Rural Municipality of Morangdistrict in the first phase of the lockdown too.
However, this program in eastern Nepal during the second lockdown has received everybody’s attention. The reason for this is the way the initiative has been carried out.
To make sure that the needy people had enough to eat during the pandemic the team provided its service by visiting the homes of such people during the first phase of the lockdown. President of Nepal Tarun Dal Kerabari, Pappu Shah, says,“We first started providing food collected from our team members but later, we other people too started supporting us. During the first lockdown we did receive some grievances that the food distribution process was biased but we have looked into the issue and there is no complaint now.”
In the first 10 days of the second lockdown the team was involved in distributing only masks. However, realizing how many people would have had to go hungry during the first lockdown if the team had not distributed food, the team resumed its food distribution campaign in the second lockdown too from August 22. People who want to can donate rice, lentils, oil, salt, among other food items at the Food Bank from where the needy can receive them.
The Food Bank’s success can be measured by the number of people donating food and those availing the food items.
“On the first day we distributed food to 25 families but the very next day that number increased to 80 families. On the third day nearly 250 families came to pick up food,” shares Shah. As the number of families was increasing there was a risk that people would not adhere strictly to social distancing rules. So, the team suspended the service on August 25 and 26 to make preparations to better manage the crowd.
The team resumed its serviceon August 27 in collaboration with all the 10 wards of the rural municipality to arrange the Food Bank in the individual wards.As a result the number of families visiting each Food Bank was limited to around 150 and it was easier to manage the crowd.
“With his new arrangement we could reach out to more families and there was no issue of partiality while distributing the food,” says Shah.
Shah further mentions that the team has been further encouraged by the financial support that it has received from its organization, different local stores, groceries, local residents and from people in Kathmandu valley too. “We have received assistance from even outside the country,” he adds.
What began in a small rural municipality has now spread to other parts of the country too and today there are a number of people organizing such food banks.
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