Kathmandu: The pandemic has brought an economic and financial crisis to many working-class households along with the fear of losing their loved ones. People have lost their jobs and income sources, forcing them and their families to face the shortage of basic needs, especially food.
In this time of crisis, some organizations like the Hiteri Foundation have come forward to help. They aim to provide food to families who have not been able to manage it themselves.
The initiative was started during the first lockdown as a project under Hiteri Foundation, which later on became a personal initiative of Tamang and the team. The group started providing hot meals to needy people at Mahalaxmisthan, in Lalitpur. The initiative has snowballed since then, says Kusum Tamang Poudyal, project head of Covid-19 Food Relief.
“We worked as a team for 10 to 11 months of the first lockdown, where we provided hot meals and rations that lasted for a month along with some basic medical supplies for wounds, cough and cold, fractures, baby deliveries and eye problems,” Poudyal said.
During the first lockdown, the project managed to provide hot meals to more than 50,000 individuals, family ration packs to more than 25,000 families, and essential medical support to approximately 200 people. Furthermore, it also managed to donate clothes and blankets for 500 individuals within the valley.
After the first lockdown was lifted, the initiative was discontinued, but it has resumed now after the announcement of the current lockdown.
“Once the lockdown ended, many people were able to get back to their jobs, because of which we did not distribute rations, but since the lockdown started again, we have resumed our work,” Poudyal said.
The team resumed the current iteration of the project on May 9, 2021, and within 3 days of its progress, they were able to provide 300 hot meals. It has also been informed that the distribution of family pack rations (that can sustain them for a month) started from May 12, 2021, and is still ongoing. The people receiving this help include those living on the streets and daily wage earners, according to Poudyal.
One of the volunteers in this project, Utsab Bikram Thapa, the Rotaract Club president and an advocate, informed that the distribution of hot meals among individuals happens around 9:30 to 10 in the morning. He further said that the number of people during the food distribution has been increasing daily. “The number of people on the first day was around 60 to 70, but now we have reached up to 150 individuals, and the numbers will keep on rising until the lockdown is lifted.”
This project is a non-profit and the project depends solely on funds and donations. With the number of people that require help on the rise, the project is facing a shortage of resources, according to Thapa. “We definitely could do with more funds and donations,” says Thapa.
Thapa added that one can choose to donate a family ration pack that will cost around Rs 4000 or a one-time meal that will cost just about Rs 50 to Rs 70 per individual.
“If our small initiative can make a big difference in an individual’s lives, then why not take that first step?” said Thapa.
If you want to make a contribution to this initiative, reach out to project officials via their cell number: +977 9818499565.