“I have been approached by several individuals and NGOs for help lately, but I sincerely denied them. I am trying my best to help people within my capability,” says Narendra Singh, a Ghaziabad based resident who has been helping COVID-19 affected families by offering them home-cooked meals for free.
It all started when Singh realized how some of his friends suffered when their sisters/ mothers/ wives tested positive. “They weren’t used to manage the home, unlike the ladies. And that striked me. What if we could help them with the food part. At least they won’t need to worry about cooking,” he shares!
However, it wasn’t easy initially. While some couldn’t ask him for him because he was a stranger, others weren’t sure how costly the food would be. And that’s when Singh started circulating WhatsApp messages on his society and friends’ groups; confirming that he would be serving home-cooked meals to every COVID-19 affected family for free!
It’s been 20 days since Narendra Singh and his wife, Dr Manpreet Kaur, started this initiative. Currently, they deliver food to almost four to five families, each consisting of 5-6 members every day. The meal consists of protein-rich dishes paneer, beans, nutella, peas and grams.
“Jo khate hain, wahi khilate hain,” says Dr Kaur, who is a dentist by profession and has been making 50+ chapattis and more than 500gm rice every day. It’s not easy to manage home, a 4 YO kid, along with taking care of patients’ meals, but this is the need of the hour, she says. “We’ve been seeing people struggling for basics. While we also help people in getting verified information about plasma, oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, ventilators, etc., helping them with their meals is something we thought of doing by ourselves,” Dr Kaur continued.
“We’ve always been spiritual and believed in working for humanity. Generally, we used to donate to Gurudwaras in the form of ‘Dasvandh’, but this time we thought of using this money and resources for COVID-19 affected families. Although we are not doing it on a large scale, I am happy with the feedback and the blessings we receive,” says Singh, who lives in Indirapuram.
Narendra and Manpreet belong to a nuclear family. Their daughter is still very young, and hence they never really thought of expanding this initiative. Neither they considered taking any form of donation. But every time someone offers them help, they encourage them to donate only in the form of raw materials or staples and not money. “What we are doing is for humanity and for the almighty; can we really justify it with money,” he smiles.
Providing quality with quantity
Currently, Singh and his wife only want to maintain the quality of food and the amount they are serving. They generally prepare and pack the food in containers and send it via delivery services like Swiggy Genie.
Every time they send food to any family, they form a relationship with them, which cannot be defined. “I feel they become my family and their health and recovery start mattering to me as much as it matters to their loved ones,” Narendra says.
Over time, he is also preparing a database of all the patients he has been serving food to. The idea is to keep a record of people who may wish to donate plasma after they recover. Besides this, Singh also works with some local Gurudwaras and communities to help people.
Singh believes that this nature of helping others and going beyond one’s comfort zone is in the culture of Sikhism. “Langar is a basic and very old & vital part of our culture. While ours is a home-kitchen based langar, a lot many people are doing it on a societal level. This is a time which demands us to work for others and not for ourselves,” he says.
Singh doesn’t know for how long or how many people he would be able to help, but he doesn’t intend to stop until then. “Nanak Naam Chardi Kala, teraa bhane sarbat da bhala,” he ends with this.
If anyone wants to get in touch with Narendra Singh, s/he can contact him via +91 99903 14742. Currently, they serve food to people residing only within the 10km radius of their home. This ensures that the food remains fresh and hot by the time they receive it.
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