For the past month, Sneha Vachhaney has been suffering from “mom’s guilt”. There’s little time for her four-year-old son as she spends most of the day cooking free meals, fielding requests for them on phone and her social media feeds, coordinating with home chefs, striking deals with delivery partners and updating the database for covidmeals.in, a website she set up in late April to help people locate home-cooked deliveries in 200 areas across Bengaluru and at least three other cities.
Vachhaney hopes that just as she was inspired by her father Jagdish, who runs two NGOs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, her son will also inherit the social work ethic. “It is all because of what my dad taught us and I saw him doing,” she says. “We have been doing it for years, so it’s not related to the pandemic alone.”
Since April 22, Vachhaney’s efforts have helped provide 3,500 meals to over 100 individuals/ families. They include the staff at three crematoriums—in Banashankari, Kudlu and MS Palya—and Cratis Hospital in Kothanur.
As Covid cases surged in Bengaluru, so did the meal requests. Leena, for instance, was desperately looking for a home-cooked lunch/ dinner service for her 75-year-old mother, Victoria Bhaskar, admitted in the ICU of Life Care Hospital. “My mother is diabetic and Sneha took extra care with her food,” she says. ‘Leena/Victoria Bhaskar Meal Support’ is just one of the over 100 new contacts Vachhaney has on her phone.
After her housing society in Bellandur became a containment zone, Vachhaney cooked for the virus-afflicted residents in her complex and continued her past commitments with the help of a couple who run a restaurant near her house. Unable to take in more requests, Vachhaney, a former product manager at makemytrip.com, roped in a friend to set up covidmeals.in, which draws daily some 1,000 people looking for meal delivery options in their localities.
Vachhaney’s day begins at 6 am and ends only by 1 past midnight, but she isn’t complaining. “I always sleep less because I think there’s so much to do. It is heart-warming to see how many restaurants and strangers came forward to cook or sponsor meals,” she says. Vachhaney intends to serve for another month. “I hope someday all this (pandemic) will end and probably the blessings earned from it works for everyone.”
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