A flood-stricken Gujarat is in dire need of aid and Mumbai’s ‘Food Army’, a charitable group was determined to provide them a proper meal. Started by Rintu Rathod the team managed to send out 84,250 theplas to Banaskantha district in Gujarat. The group packaged these theplas in cartons and sent it to Ahmedabad via tempo and from here on the district collector and National Disaster Response Force and the Border security force will take charge of distributing them on Thursday evening.
This unconditional effort will not be the first time such an initiative has been taken by this group. Rathod tells Hindustan Times, “We just want them to get a good home-cooked meal.” The first time they started off was back in 2014 when Rathod wanted to send a hot meal to Kashmir residents who were affected by the floods. “I read about the floods and decided to do something to help those who were suffering. I realised that whenever there is a calamity, the Indian army is the first to reach the spot. However, army members usually distribute biscuits and other dry items. I wanted Kashmir residents to enjoy a hot meal instead,” she adds.
The help the Kashmir victims Rathod texted 10 of her friends asking them to make 25 theplas each along with a proper recipe and they in turn texted more people in their contact lists to do the same. A friend of Rathod’s who runs an NGO in Kashmir made sure that their efforts saw the light of day. Rathod and her ‘army’ have sent one lakh theplas to Nepal in 2015 to provide relief from the earthquake and 30,000 theplas to victims of the Chennai floods later that year.
The overwhelming support of Mumbai-ites, NGOs and even the airline officials helped the team carry out their relief mission successfully. Rathod says, “When we started out, we planned to transport the theplas via flight and even offered to pay airline officials for the excess baggage. However, they were touched and told us this was the first time they had heard of such an initiative. They have been transporting our theplas for free since then.”
The group currently has a thousand members across Mumbai with many signing up each day. Electrical engineer Yogesh Tiwari who has been a member of this group since past three years told Hindustan Times, “There were several familiar faces at the collection centre in Ghatkopar. We collected around 3,200 theplas, 10 bags of clothes, one bag of toys and one of shoes.”
Image Source: The Better India