Have you heard of Jignesh Gandhi? Unlikely that majority of us would know. In these times of film stars and industrialists, this man from Surat is a much bigger inspiration.
Gandhi is the owner of a textile machinery trading business and is also a social worker. He runs his NGO called Alliance Club of Surat “Hope”. Every single day, from 24th March, ever since the lockdown was announced, he begins his day each day at 6 am. He toils hard to provide two meals for some 12,000 people daily in some of the poorest areas of Surat. These meals are usually for daily wage earners - rickshaw pullers, construction workers, masons and carpenters.
It costs Gandhi around Rs.12,000 to 13,000 to buy supplies for 12,000 meals twice a day. The costs have been kept low with the cooking and distribution done by local volunteers. Women, who send chapatis to the kitchens, are given 1 kg of flour every day. Gandhi buys around 150 kg of vegetables before visiting the godowns to purchase around 500 kg of dal and rice. He delivers these items to each of the six spots where food is prepared and also decides the menu every day.
Till date, he has spent Rs.36 lakh. Sadly he has received no help – neither from any private organization nor from the state Govt or municipal corporation, which stopped providing meals after the second lockdown was imposed on 14 April.
People like Gandhi are the real heroes. They need to be celebrated and aided so that this good work can continue.