By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 19 August 2020: We are in the second phase of the pandemic here and it’s been tougher for people who are socially and economically vulnerable. Stage-4 restrictions are in place as the world’s most livable city waits for the grand old normal days to stage a comeback. Till then people need to be helped at many levels and it’s rocking with planned hard work.
Dedicated volunteers of the Mental Health Foundation Of Australia (MHFA) led by Chairperson Vasan Srinivasan have been hitting the roads with cooked food packets for more than the last two weeks. ” We distribute about 600 packets each day and this has been going on for the last 15 days, ” Vasan tells SAT. That makes it about 9,000 people who have been helped with food during the current restrictions.
So, how is this stuff distributed? The food is cooked in sponsored kitchens, packed, and loaded into a van and taken to centers run by the Salvation Army, My Centre (Broadmeadows), Neighborhood House (Collinwood), Neighbourhood House (Richmond) and to international students wherever necessary.
The groceries come as donations from the community and the van has been sponsored by Foot Solutions. The kitchen is sponsored by Paramjit Jaiswal and volunteers keep joining the work as needed. Vasan happily says, ” The response is very good and there is no dearth of phone inquiries daily.”
The enthusiasm for this voluntary work is great in the rather unusual days. But, Mr. Vasan says, he is sad at the Victorian Government not helping them as it helps the Beyond Blue with millions. We get only $ 81,000 per year.”
All photos- MHFA