BHOPAL: Lockdown heroes who fed
and slum dwellers earlier are now helping out middle-class families who have lost their jobs and are too embarrassed to ask for help.
are going around, gathering information on those unable to buy groceries and medicines, and helping them out quietly. Others are finding small-time jobs for them as well.
"Middle-class families, who dipped into their meagre savings after their sole earning member lost job, are now facing a lot of problems. They can't bring themselves to ask for grocery kits (handed out by the administration). This is the time when we need to understand their needs without them having to ask for favours," said
, a social activist.
Shrivastav recalls the moment he realized it's not just migrants who need help in these tough times. "One day I called up my friend's wife who makes delicious poha. She said that her husband lost his job in April and they did not have money to buy it. It was very painful for me to hear that my friend was going through such a crisis but he could not tell anyone just because he was middle-class and has a status to maintain," he said.
Shrivastav realised there would be other such families too embarrassed to ask for help. Discreetly, he and some friends started gathering information. Once they identify a family, they find out what exactly they need - groceries, medicines or other essentials. "Usually, it's their friends or relatives who pass on the information. We take them along to deliver the supplies without hurting their self-esteem. If someone is too embarrassed, we tell them that they can pay us back later," he added.
Another social activist,
, who has been distributing groceries and medicines among slum dwellers in the lockdown, told TOI that she has realized of late that the middle-class too needs help.
Many of them started quietly approaching her for "work", she says. "It is painful to see people looking for odd jobs they are over-qualified for, just so their families won't go hungry," she said.
Sachin Jain, a right-to-food activist, said NGOs are chalking out plans with help from the government to provide some form of employment to those who were laid off during the lockdown and freelance artistes who have no source of income.