This NGO provides food to families living in Bengaluru’s slums amid lockdown

The United Foundation started distributing Mercy Kits and set up Mercy Kitchens soon after the lockdown was announced.

The global menace caused by the novel coronavirus is all that is on people’s minds. Surviving a pandemic is difficult in itself, but more so when your source of daily income is taken away, making it difficult to find food and shelter. While some of us have the privilege to stock up on essentials, many don’t.

Food is the most basic thing needed for survival, which is why The United Foundation (TUF) has prioritised initiatives to ensure that those in need are being served. 

Based in Bengaluru and founded in 2008, TUF is a government registered non-profit organisation. Their team comprises zealous youngsters working in the field of food aid, shelter, community hygiene, emergency relief, and more. 

Following the declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, TUF told SocialStory that it started working full swing on its two current initiatives – the distribution of Mercy Kits, and the setting up of Mercy Kitchens. 

The United Foundation: Distribution and making of food.

Mercy Kits are essentially ration kits that include rice, atta, dal, oil, sugar, rawa (semolina) and more. These kits are procured from TUF’s long-standing vendors, with the value of each kit being Rs 1,500. As of the next two months, the foundation aims to donate 30,000 kits to each slum. Crowdfunding via social media and donations from a network of individuals and volunteers is sustaining this project. 

Having catered to the major slum areas of DJ Halli, Ejipura, and Bommanahalli for the last 11 years, TUF has an understanding of the demographic, and that enables their impact. Each slum is said to be home to a minimum of 30,000 families. Being an organisation supported by over 300 volunteers, TUF also aims to support people with disabilities, orphans, single parents, and senior citizens. 

“Collective effort is the need of the hour and we have delegated amongst ourselves the most vulnerable in Bangalore – the daily wage workers,” says Dr Habeeb, Founder of The United Foundation.

The most predominant beneficiaries of this project are fruit and vegetable vendors, catering waiters, household labourers, agarbatti unit workers, wedding hall workers, welders, auto-rickshaw drivers, and other daily wage workers.

Their other initiative, Mercy Kitchen, was started immediately after the lockdown was announced on March 24. Under this, two temporary kitchens have been set up in DJ Halli and Ejipura to cater to wage workers who cannot afford daily meals. The core team members and trustees supervise this project daily while ensuring that all safety and hygiene measures are followed while preparing and serving these meals. The Mercy Kitchens currently feed 3,000 people daily.

“We strive to transform the apparent selfishness into selflessness and urge the world to do the same. Increasing our reach and serving more of the vulnerable strata is our key goal now,” adds Dr Habeeb.

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)

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