Today, no one really knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end in India and its consequent lock down. After seasonal cultivation, millions of families from different states in India are forced to migrate to neighboring cities and towns of other states for temporary labor due to unsustainable agriculture. These people have limited health services and social protection. Some may not even have ration cards. Neither do they have comfortable shelters. Many are undernourished. Migrant families are already working in unfavorable conditions without proper food and shelter to feed themselves and their families. In a situation of lock down due to COVID-19, they are now unable to earn their livelihood. Millions of migrant families in Bengaluru city and in other districts of Karnataka became jobless suddenly. They began to suffer from hunger and thirst due to lack of money in their hands. They may be construction workers, housemaids, taxi drivers, auto-rickshaw drivers, waiters in hotels, shop keepers, transgender persons and daily wage laborers etc. In this urgent and scary context of mass starvation and deprivation of people, BMSSS decided to reduce the number of starvation deaths. Some organizations such as BJS (Bangalore Jesuit Society), Caritas India, and Janadhare have come forward to work in collaboration with BMSSS.
Besides, the corporate entities namely Muthoot Finance, Zomato, Britannia, and Oasis India are supporting BMSSS with their generous aid. A massive effort of charity irrespective of state, caste, class, gender or religion is being organized by BMSSS to feed the migrants, slum dwellers and needy families till they tide over the economic crisis created by lock down.
Until now, 7500 food kits (raw materials for a family to survive at least a week) are already distributed in the operational area of BMSSS. 5000 food kits are distributed in Bangalore city while 2500 food kits are distributed in other districts where the economically disadvantaged people are suffering due to lock down. Almost 5000 persons are provided cooked food daily in the slums of Murphy Town, Naganapalya, and Lingarajapuram. Over 100 volunteers from different organization ind institutions are networking with BMSSS in food distribution at different locations in the operational area of BMSSS.
In addition to distribution of food kits and cooked food to the needy who are affected by lock down, BMSSS is also running temporary shelter homes for migrants in St. Joseph’s High School, Chamrajpet, Railway Colony, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Ulsoor, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Cubbonpet and St. Mary’s Basilica, Shivajinagar.
This emergency work was never possible without the support of thousands of compassionate and charitable individuals, families, institutions and companies who helped and continue to help BMSSS with contributions either in cash or kind.