by Cleric Ankit Devda & Father Daresh Rathwa for BISMumbai

COVID-19 has left thousands of migrant labourers and the poor in panic. A situation of realising the fragility of human life, this was the time to reach out to help the vulnerable, less privileged and those most in need. Don Bosco Chhotaudepur undertook the COVID-19 outreach in 02 phases.

Phase 01 was the purchase of masks to donate to people in various villages. However, due to lockdown restrictions, and in compliance with the directives and guidelines issued by the District Collector, the masks were distributed to 03 hospitals in Chhotaudepur District Headquarters. Fathers Brian Boothello and Daresh Rathwa with Dr. Vijay Rathwa and Dr. Ramesh Rathwa visited the hospitals and handed over the masks to Dr. Raju at Kesar hospital, Dr. Rohan at Devanshi Hospital, and Dr. Ramesh PAtel at Eye Hospital. Thus, 2000 masks were distributed in Phase 01.

Phase 02 was for those on the fringes. Having been apprised of the increasing number of stranded migrant labourers and daily wage earners amounting to thousands, the Don Bosco Chhotaudepur social outreach staff and the community decided to meet the food-nutrition requirements of the most needy. Those unable to obtain ration cards, consequently deprived of food, especially those vulnerable and marginalised.

Social Outreach staff of the Lok Seva Kendra with the assistance of the village leaders surveyed their allotted villages and identified beneficiaries, especially those considered of the lower caste! With the help of the village sarpanches, a list was prepared fro each of the villages. Thus, 852 deserving most-needy families in 63 villages were helped in the RathVistaar, Chhotaudepur District of Gujarat. The food-ration kits [rice, maize, poha, potatoes, onions, sugar, turdal, chana dal, salt, cooking oil, tea powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, & 02 bathing soaps], weighing more than 20kgs each, were prepared by the domestic staff and few volunteers.

The COVID-19 relief outreach was coordinated as a team by the Salesians, the Lok Seva Kendra staff, the support staff and a few volunteers. Till further easing of restrictions, the outreach will continue to aid even more suffering-starving in the Chhotaudepur District.