Hyderabad: A visit to a COVID hospital changed the outlook of Hyderabad techie Sravanthi Kasaram towards life. Pained to see the plight of hungry attendants, she decided to quit the job and feed the hungry.
Most of the attendants she met had not eaten for days. No food and no water, the attendants were tending to loved ones without caring for themselves.
Therefore, `We Are With You' was born. The NGO decided to support the attendants who tend to patients but go hungry for days.
When the second wave hit this year, they started paid food service for the elderly. Out of a total of 93 senior citizens, 43 had nobody to take care of. Their children have settled abroad. "We thought what must be happening with the people who don't have resources. We were also concerned about the caregivers," said Sravanthi.
During the first wave, Sravanthi had distributed 4500 grocery and medicine kits in city slums. Later she helped people during floods in October. "I joined Tech Mahindra. After a few months, Covid again raised its head. I started paid service for the elderly but it was not enough. I left my job at Tech Mahindra to serve the people again," said Sravanthi.
During the second wave, she started distributing Glucovita, bread, and pickles to caregivers at Gandhi Hospital, Fever hospital, TIMS, Chest Hospital and King Koti.
"Attendants were finding it hard to arrange food at TIMS, which is at the far corner of the city. The government started Annapurna canteen to serve Rs 5 foods for the needy after seeing our tweet of serving in TIMS," said Sravanthi.
She said since most people cannot afford packaged water, they started crowdfunding from friends to help the needy. "Our friends and acquaintances pooled money so that we could cater to needy attendants. We started giving water bottles to every check-post and hospital. Many of the hospitals have RO plants but the basic hygiene is not maintained. People were waiting for us to serve them water," said Sravanthi.
In the meantime, Sravanthi observed that NGOs were serving only lunch to the people. "Most of these NGOs serve lunch. Sometimes attendants were seeking two or three packets of food from different NGOs so that they could eat it at dinner. In the evenings, all shops are closed. They can't afford food from online services," said Sravanthi.
When she checked Maternity and Niloufer Hospitals, she found more than 800 people did not have anything to eat for dinner. With the support of donors, they started cooking food for 800 people.
"We ran short of funds for one day and had to stop the services. Attendants and traffic police called us to tell us that they were waiting for food. We do not have the funds to cook for 800 people. We are dependent on some organizations. Nimantran Hotel gives 100 packs of food, which contains roti, rice, and curry. We are not able to serve all the people who are out there," said Sravanthi.