Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 1.3 billion residents of India have been under a strict nationwide lockdown for 21 days, which is being extended for another three weeks. During this total lockdown, India's residents cannot leave their homes at all, except for those who work for the very few essential services. All transportation has ceased.
While many people are inconvenienced by these strictly enforced rules, a large population of people are devastated by them. India's migrant worker population numbers over 100 million. These are people who move from their villages to work in metropolitan areas for daily wages. They work in construction, or as factory hands, delivery boys, or rickshaw pullers. They sell fruits and vegetables along the side of the road. These workers have left their villages because they couldn't earn a living there, and flocked to the cities for work.
Now, with their source of income cut off, these migrant workers are the most vulnerable in India during a time like this. Since all transportation services have been stopped, they are essentially stranded in the cities, unable to return to their villages. Thousands, however, have chosen to walk the hundreds of miles back to their homes.
These workers make up the families on whom we have focused much our rice giving efforts in the past. So naturally, we wanted to help them more than ever. But the strict lockdown rules made it unsafe for our rice giving team to continue to go out and deliver bags of rice.
Luckily, we were able to collaborate with the local police to find the migrant families who were left stranded without work in the cities, and provide them enough food to supply a family of four for two weeks.
So far, we have been able to give to 147 struggling families, and they've been given more than just rice. Each family received 10 kilos of rice along with 5 kilos of flour, 2 kilos of beans, 2 liters of cooking oil, 2 kilos of onions, and 2 kilos of potatoes.
We want to give a special shout-out to Mahesh, the Circle Inspector pictured here with these families. He oversaw the giving in-person to many families in need. He has been incredibly helpful to us, and we thank him.
We would also like to thank all of you who have supported Rice Love and made this giving possible! World hunger has not been put on pause during this global pandemic, in fact, millions people are more in need than ever.
So, thank you for your continued support of our cause - to help end world hunger - even during these trying times. We're all in this together.
More photos of the families who were helped during this time can be found here.