Cuttack: For biscuit company owner Avinash Khemka (47), helping people in need is nothing new. Last year, he had lent a helping hand to thousands of workers stranded on highways during the lockdown. Finding that 92 per cent of COVID patients are in home isolation, this time around, he has taken it upon himself to provide them food.
“It is not about money but empathy – the ability to feel the suffering of others that empowers me to move ahead,” Khemka told The New Indian Express (TNIE).
He has taken up the mission through his organisation, Amulya Jeevan Foundation Trust. Being a highly infectious disease, Covid-19 is different from others as it can render families helpless.
A family of three near Town Hall, comprising a 40-year-old man, his wife and mother-in-law, all of whom had COVID came across a pamphlet of Khemka’s Foundation on WhatsApp. “We dialled the number given on the pamphlet and requested for three meals. At 1 pm, the bell rang and I found a man standing with the packets and three water bottles. He put the food and bottles on the floor and left,” the man’s wife was quoted as saying by TNIE.
“Most of them are unable to arrange cooked food for themselves. Hence, I decided to supply packed meals to them,” he was quoted as saying.
Khemka’s family members and his employees cook the food. While 16 meals were supplied to five houses for lunch, as many as 23 dinners were given to nine houses at different locations in the city on day one.
Khemka also distributes cooked packed meals among around 200 persons in distress including beggars, porters and daily wage labourers at Cuttack Railway Station with the help of Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel. The cooked meal packets contain rice, four rotis, mixed vegetable curry, fried vegetables, two bananas, a sweet and a biscuit packet along with a water bottle. “While the lunchtime is 12 pm to 1.30 pm, the dinner time is between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm,” Khemka told TNIE.
COVID patients who need food have to inform him four hours in advance by calling 8280-900-000.