Meet five friends from Chennai whose mission is to feed the poor

Meet five friends from Chennai whose mission is to feed the hungry

Meet five friends from Chennai whose mission is to feed the poor

Every morning, five friends in Chennai collect cooked meals from Hotel Sangeeta in Velachery. They then drive to nearby temples, mosques and slums to distribute the food to the homeless and hungry in Tamil Nadu’s capital.

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken food further away from many mouths in the country, which ranks 94 among 107 nations in the Global Hunger Index 2020.

But Anees Afzal, Hyder Hasan, Mohammed Jibran W, Mohammed Zunaim T, and Fadil Abdul Azeez are trying to make a difference through Ek NGO. “We distribute food to homeless and daily wagers, who are finding the going toughest due to COVID-19. Many of them were working earlier but have not been called back to work still,” says Azeez.

Also Read: A migrant worker’s 1,200 km journey on foot during the Coronavirus lockdown

While four of the friends run their own business in logistics and transportation, one of them is employed with a bike outlet. Over dinner one night, they thought of starting a social welfare organisation. And it was much before the pandemic.

“We started by supporting the needy but this year we decided to become a registered NGO given that a lot of people needed help in going back home or even managing two meals during COVID-19,” he says. 

Also Read: COVID-19: India’s handicrafts exports nosedive 40%; artisans turn daily wagers to make ends meet

Assisting migrant workers with food and travel arrangements was a big initiative of Ek NGO. “We would daily help about 500 to 1000 migrant workers who were stranded at railway stations and give them cooked meals,” says Hasan. With funding from well-wishers, they helped migrant workers with transportation as well.

Besides, they regularly distributed ration kits to auto rickshaw drivers, fishermen, construction workers, and other daily wagers. The kits, which included rice, pulses and other essential items, were given to over 10,000 families during the migrant crisis when most people were out of job. As many as 41 lakh youths in India have lost jobs due to COVID-19, as per the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). 

Also Read: How i-Saksham’s young education leaders are driving change in Bihar’s most backward districts

As the migrant crisis subsided after a couple of months, they began focusing on feeding the poor across the city.

That was when they caught the attention of the President, The order of Round Table Association and World Care Way, Chaganti VK Maithreya, an HR consultant, philosopher, and philanthropist, who helms ‘Feeding the Hungry Project’. Maithreya, along with other donors and sponsors, runs this initiative which is involved in feeding the poor.”

Maithreya joined hands with the youngsters and helped them collect cooked meals from Hotel Sangeeta. “We aim to adopt schools and families at a later stage and provide them education as well as livelihood opportunities. For now, they are happy helping hundreds of hungry and homeless people on the streets of Chennai who need food more than anything else today.

(Mohammed Rayaan is a Chennai-based journalist. Find his writings at rayaanwriter.com)

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3 thoughts on “Meet five friends from Chennai whose mission is to feed the hungry

  1. Abhijit Chandra Chandra says:

    A thousand salutations to the five noble souls who have truly comprehended the great message of Islam – to be beneficent and merciful…

  2. Mohamed Ehsan says:

    Keep up the good work…May Allah bless all and give more strength and energy to help the needy during their difficult times…

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