JAIPUR: At a time when the second wave of COVID-19 has turned Jaipur into a pandemic hotspot, two sisters in the city are making a small but significant contribution to help virus-infected families by sending them free, hygienic and healthy home-cooked food. Though they initially began this effort to help some families known to them, now their modest initiative is helping dozens of families who are battling the dreaded disease.
Pooja, 37, and Vandana, 49, live in Jaipur’s Bajaj Nagar area and are rapidly becoming saviours for virus-infected families in the city, which is recording an average of over 3000 new cases and nearly 40 deaths each day. As they struggle to look after affected family members, ensure all medicines or even oxygen, organising food is often a nightmare.
This is where Pooja and Vandana have stepped in to help. Last year, many members of their own family had contracted COVID-19 and for about a week it was difficult for them to organise food. That tough experience made them realize the importance of serving hygienic and healthy food for COVID-19 patients and their families.
Last month, as the COVID-19 crisis began turning serious in Rajasthan, they remembered their personal experiences and decided to step forward to provide a wholesome meal for some families infected with COVID-19 who were unable to buy groceries and had no one to cook for them. Pooja, an IT engineer who owns a company in the US, and her sister Vandana, a home-maker, pooled their resources and began their campaign to serve free food to them.
Explaining their inspiration, Pooja remarked, “We felt that the crisis is far more serious this time and we remembered how tough it was to organize food when our family was down with COVID-19. We got to know that some of the families known to us were finding it tough to get any food so we decided we should do our best to help them.”
Initially, the sisters could cover only a few families in the area where they live but gradually they have expanded their service. Today, they send their food every day to about 25 families living in many colonies of Jaipur like Nirman Nagar, Mansarovar, Tilak Nagar, Adarsh Nagar and Mahesh Nagar. Besides cooking, they use their own car and a driver or family member to deliver the food.
In addition to extending their service to different corners of the city, the sisters also take special pride in providing nutritious and healthy food. Vandana, who is a Reiki Master, said, “We take every care to ensure that our food is tasty and meets the needs of the patients. We pray before we cook our food and use only organic vegetables and try to provide a healthy and balanced diet so that the patients can heal quickly.”
For lunch, they serve a few chapatis, vegetables, dal and a boiled salad and for dinner they usually serve porridge, khichdi or vegetable pulao. They also post an inspiring message on the tiffins in which they send the food. As Vandana remarks, “We write a positive thought on the packages that we send so that COVID-19 patients and their families are able to smile when they receive our food.”
Daughters of a veteran journalist in Jaipur, Govind Narayan Haritwal, Pooja and Vandana are using social media to inform people of their service and are keen to expand their operations. Though they do not accept any donations, they want to carry their noble mission to as many families as possible in their bid to help those battling the COVID-19 crisis in the city. Small efforts like these are significant as the Pink City witnesses a sharp spike in cases and the entire country battles an unprecedented health crisis.