Berhampur: Healthcare workers and frontline workers apart, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up several heroes who have been providing great service to those in distress.
One such good samaritan is Berhampur businessman and advocate P Dharma Rao. Through his organisation San & Neel Foundation, Rao has been providing free food packets at the doorsteps of COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation and quarantine.
Rao and his staff hand over free meals to 120 people daily. The average cost of each packet is about Rs 70.
Rao, who has been distributing food for almost a month and half, found out that most COVID patients in the Silk City are in home isolation.
“Since everyone in the family has been exposed to COVID-19 infection, they are unable to look after one another or prepare food. As they are left on their own with even close relatives not being able to help them, I decided to serve cooked food free of cost at their doorsteps,” explained Rao, who has spent Rs 2.94 lakh so far to pursue his noble mission.
He had thought of launching this initiative last year itself during the first wave of the pandemic, but could not implement it due to various reasons.
“Eight volunteers including my wife and son help me in cooking, packaging and distributing the food packets,” said Rao. “We provide rice, dal, curry, pickle, papad, veg biryani, fried rice, salad for lunch and dinner. Lunch is distributed at doorsteps around 12 noon, while dinner delivery time is 8 pm. The packets are prepared just one hour earlier. The food items are wrapped in silver foil and packed in containers. Volunteers deliver the food at doorsteps, avoiding any physical contact,” he added.
San & Neel Foundation has also been providing food during lockdown to pavement dwellers, old people staying on roadsides, rickshaw pullers at Station Road, Old Bus Stand, Gate Bazar, Tata Benz Square, New Bus Stand and other areas.
Rao has spread his WhatsApp number 9040481224 through social media so that those in home isolation can contact him for free food packets. “It is not about money but empathy… the ability to feel the suffering of others empowers me to move ahead,” he said.
Dharma Rao’s ambition is to establish a home for orphaned children and helpless aged persons. “This is my ambition and goal in life. If anyone donates land, I can proceed… or anyone willing for MoU with condition being that neither of us can sell the land to a third party,” Dharma concluded.