What do you do when Covid has kept you in home isolation and you are feeling hungry? Millennials having access to smartphones usually order food online in such cases. However, many cannot afford such expenses or may not know how to order online.
Keeping these hurdles in mind the Women Safety Wing of the Telangana Police has come up with the Seva Ahaar program where the police have tied up with a host of organizations to serve free nutritious food to Covid positive patients.
The Telangana State Police is working in collaboration with Sri Satya Sai Seva Organisation, Lead Life Foundation, Swiggy, Big Basket, Hope Organisation and several NGOs to deliver free lunch at your doorsteps. The program which was launched on May 6 is presently functional at the Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda Commissionerate areas. However, with the help of more contributors and partners who are expected to join, the service might be expanded to all the major towns of Telangana.
Patients who are home quarantined can order free lunch by using the ‘Seva Ahaar’ app which can be downloaded from iOs or Play-store. Alternatively, they may also send a WhatsApp message to 7799616163 to avail the service.
It should be noted that a person can order free food for five persons from one registered mobile number. He can also order five times with the same number. One needs to keep in mind that the order should be placed before 6 AM in the morning. If placed after, the order will be considered for the next day.
Senior citizens and children who are in home quarantine are treated as priority. The services are expected to cater to 1000 to 2000 people each day.
The Seva Ahaar initiative is being supervised by Swati Lakra IPS, Additional DGP of Women Safety Wing and B. Sumathi IPS, DIG CID Women Protection Cell. “Within a month of starting the initiative we have been able to reach 1 lakh people. This has been possible only because several organizations and volunteers came forward and joined us in this Seva Ahaar program,” Swati Lakra said.
The Telangana Police had come up with the Seva app during the nationwide lockdown that was announced last year. “Our experience from last year has helped this time. Last year we worked with more than 90 NGOs. Each of them used to provide us with 10-100 volunteers. All of them were geotagged according to their location. There were about 2 collection points which were manned by police on an app. This made the whole process transparent,” said B. Sumathi IPS.
“For example if someone donates some 1000 kg of rice they used to enter their name and the quantity on the app so that the info was accessible by all. The volunteers who were working as distributors used to collect and take it to the kitchen. The monitoring and coordination aspect of it was done by police. We had established a system and had access to all the contacts from one place,” Sumathi IPS explained.
“Our DG appreciated our project and issued certificates to all the NGOs who had helped in reaching out to the needy,” she added.
The Telangana Police were distributing food, ration and also arranging transport for the migrant workers who got stuck owing to the lockdown. Almost 90-110 buses were organized with the coordination of police for the transportation of migrants. Relief material worth 90 lakh was distributed during that time. Moreover, all the essential services were made accessible in a very effective and tech-friendly manner.
“Since we have a good rapport with the NGOs we have become acquainted with their area of expertise. This has helped us in approaching them for the Seva Ahaar program this year. All of them were ready to help the moment they were approached. Many IT professionals also came forward to design the app,” said the DIG.
If anyone wishes to volunteer in a particular area for the Seva Ahaar program they may let the police know through Whatsapp. But once the app gets functional the process will be streamlined. Volunteers may donate food or any essential item, come and cook or do back-end or tech work for the police. The Telangana Police is already taking the help of volunteers to run the telecalling services wherein everyday around 200-250 calls are being made to the police personnel who have tested Covid positive.
The Seva Ahaar program has received good response from all. “People have expressed their gratitude on Whatsapp and praised the quality of food while receiving the packets from our delivery partners.”
To ensure proper nutrition Telangana Police has got in touch with reputed organizations that have prior expertise in food and nutrition. The police have also consulted a group of nutritionists to see what kind of food can be provided. The menu is changed over a span of three days which ensures variety.
The only challenge the Telangana Police is facing presently is lack of cooks. “Though we have all the ingredients and materials available with us, we are not getting enough people to cook the food since people are not coming forward out of fear of contracting Covid. If we are to outsource that, it becomes a financial burden. We are keen to get some volunteers to cook,” said Sumathi IPS.
The Telangana Police is also offering breakfast through Seva Ahaar to the police personnel. “In Gandhi hospital we are providing breakfast to 100-150 policemen posted there early in the morning at 7:30 am. We are also thinking of extending our service to the policemen at the checkposts,” the DIG informed.
People friendly policing
The Seva Ahaar program might be the only initiative in the country so far where so many partners have come together under one umbrella to deliver free nutritious food to the patients in home-isolation in time and by ensuring proper hygiene protocols.
“There are many in home-isolation who may not have the capacity to order online. Moreover they might not know where to order from because eateries and hotels are closed due to the lockdown. It gives us immense satisfaction to serve them through this initiative. This program sets an example of how partnerships can work so well together for the sake of society. Our partners are cutting across all kinds of services like industry, manufacturing, and e-commerce. It gives us joy to see so many people involved in one platform. This is what people-friendly policing is all about,” the DIG said in conclusion.
Keep up the good work!