Nagpur

This NGO is a messiah for hostel students, sr citizens

A senior citizen at Empress City was facing trouble as his maid stopped coming after a patient tested positive there. Similarly, another old woman staying alone at Dharampeth couldn’t recharge her mobile due to lockdown. Maitree Parivar Sanstha’s young volunteers came to their rescue by not only arranging food, but also helping them out in procuring medicines, recharging mobile phones and other important works. The NGO, famous for organizing the concerts of Asha Bhosle and Ajay-Atul, has started a helpline number targeting not only senior citizens, but also hostel students and working professionals, who’re dependent on mess service or tiffins. After starting their helpline, they received over 400 calls on the first day and now they supply fresh food to over 1,500 such needy persons daily. “We’ve decided to target only students and working professionals from outside the city, who are in large numbers and dependent on mess or tiffin and don’t have gas cylinder or ration card. All of them are stranded here due to lockdown and surviving on Maggi, bread and snacks,” member Rohit Himte told TOI. Initially, NGO’s under president Sanjay Bhende and secretary Pramod Pendke started reaching out to the needy from March 25 by providing them food packets in association with Kotwali police station. Later, they realized that many stuck up students and professionals staying in hostels or privately were facing troubles. “We then decided to launch a helpline number where we received over 400 calls on the first day. We asked all callers to send their Aadhaar card and college or company’s identity card pictures and prepared a Google sheet. We also received calls from many senior citizens for help,” Himte said. Though Maitree Parivar had over 2,000 members, they’ve selected 90 volunteers comprising youths and middle age groups to deliver food parcels. “We’ve been granted permission for 12 four-wheelers by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). In each vehicle, two of us distribute packets in the city. We’ve made 12 teams which covers 16 areas, from Pardi to Hingna to Wadi. For senior citizens, we’re working with Civic Action Guild Foundation to help them out for medicines, mobile recharge or any other help,” Himte said. The NGO prepares food at its hostel in Surendra Nagar while chapatis are made at homes of its members. “We try to provide excess food so that the person could eat it in the evening also. We can’t go out twice as we also have to observe social distancing,” he said, adding that they would continue their noble work till April 30.