Coronavirus: How Swiggy distributed over 20 lakh meals across 18 cities during lockdown

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, Swiggy has partnered with several commercial kitchens, NGOs, and state governments to provide daily meals to thousands of underprivileged people.

The coronavirus lockdown has brought the world to its knees. Globally, the number of cases has gone up to about 1.8 million, and 115,287 deaths have been recorded so far. Governments, corporates, startups, and individuals alike are taking initiatives to help citizens cope with the impact of the pandemic.

At times like this, it is important to remember that several people do not have a roof above their heads or food to eat. According to a study by Mercy Corps, about nine million people die of hunger around the world every year, while one-third of the food produced is wasted.

There is a likely chance that people will die of hunger than of contracting the virus as the countrywide lockdown has left a number of people stranded without food and shelter in India. Along with this, a number of smaller restaurants and eateries are facing heavy losses and the risk of being shut down permanently.

To counter the situation, Bengaluru-based foodtech unicorn Swiggy recently launched the ‘Hope, not hunger’ initiative to support the Delhi Government’s programme to feed the needy. It has partnered with various commercial kitchens, NGOs, and state governments to provide daily meals to thousands of underprivileged, daily wagers, and stranded migrant labourers who have limited access to nutritious food during the lockdown.

Swiggy is distributing meals to daily wagers on a daily basis

Speaking about the initiative, Sriharsha Majety, CEO of Swiggy, said, "These are challenging times for the service industry, including the food sector. There are restaurants that run the very real risk of shutting down permanently due to lack of business. This, in turn, has the potential to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of kitchen workers, cooks, and support staff. Considering the nature of our business, we are in a unique place to contribute by making something as essential as food available to the needy while providing business opportunities for our restaurant and kitchen partners so that we can together make it through to the other end of this crisis.”

This crowdfunded initiative has served more than 150,000 meals in a day and aims to serve at least 500,000 meals a day. Served as lunch and dinner, these meals are planned in such a way that they are wholesome.

Each meal has adequate portions of rice, dal, and vegetables to ensure the nutritional needs of the individual are met.

The meals provided are nutritionally balanced

Dev Amritesh, Managing Director of Compass Kitchens, said, “We are in the business of feeding people every day with nutritious meals across corporates, schools, colleges, factories, and hospitals. In these difficult times, most of our clients have had to close their institutions. The capacity in our industrial kitchens was therefore available, and this has been just the right use for them. We are truly are honoured to be a part of this initiative.”

Compass Kitchens is one of the largest supply partners in this initiative, along with Lite Bite Foods and SmartQ. The efforts were scaled almost instantly to Mumbai with the help of NGOs Pratham, HelpAge India, and Yuva, with Elior India acting as the food supply partner

“Elior is extremely pleased to partner with Swiggy and be of service to the distressed in this hour of crisis. Through the various central kitchens that Elior has across the country, we will be producing more than 20,000 meals a day. We hope this gesture will help mitigate the troubles of those to whom we wish to reach out”, said Sanjay Kumar, MD and CEO, Elior India.

The initiative has been started in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Chennai, and Kolkata, and many corporates are doing their bit to take this forward into other cities as well. As of today, it has distributed over 2,000,000 meals in over 18 cities after receiving more than 20,000 donations.

Thousands of customers have contributed to the cause through the app. Swiggy has also set up a platform for individual donations via crowdfunding platform Milaap. The donation is completely voluntary and eligible for deduction under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for Indian donors.

A donation as small as Rs 250 can provide a day’s meal to a family of four. To contribute to the ‘Hope, not Hunger’ initiative, click here.

A few other startups have also started crowdfunded initiatives to help daily wagers. The ‘Feed the Daily Wager’ campaign by Zomato aims to provide relief kits that contain either wheat flour or rice, two types of pulses and a bar of soap for a family of five to last a whole week. It has partnered with Grofers for the same.

An NGO, Uday foundation is also providing ‘Care Kits’ that consist of COVID-19 essentials like sanitisers, hand wash and food items.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta