TBR’s COVID Responses – The Story of John

Every morning John, our social worker, dutifully wakes up earlier than most of the city. He’s also been up most of the previous night co-ordinating with local youth volunteers to see who can help with the coming day. John has worked out a service map of sorts covering the forest areas around the Thane side of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the open streets of Mulund, and the expansive slums that make up a huge part of Bhandup.

The team sweats it out in Mumbai’s harsh summer heat and humidity, while quite often literally going uphill to include as many people as they can. A frightening number of undocumented migrant workers and Adivasi families are severely affected and do not have access to government schemes during the COVID lock-down. John’s volunteers from different religious, cultural, socio- economic backgrounds are welcomed and appreciated for their selfless service.  Having distributed TBR’s nutritious breakfast packs, they take a break at a makeshift Adivasi stall to have some vada pav and to share stories from their different routes and the families they met. To date, almost 2 lakh breakfasts and hot meals have been distributed during this extended lockdown.

Some head home, while some accompany John to his home where they begin prep work and cooking for the night. Taking into account nutritional needs they’re making a soy pulav with veggies tonight.

Once it cools down a little bit, the team packs it up and heads back out. They want to make sure the people they’re helping do not go to bed on an empty stomach. And so, they go… uphill, and partially in the dark, to help those in dire need.

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