How chef and actor Jeevan Kumar coordinated a massive social drive during the Hyderabad lockdown

For almost 60 days, Jeevan Kumar has been cooking/distributing meals and necessities for many who’ve been severely hit by the COVID-19 lockdown in Hyderabad, with the assist of his enterprise companions, effectively wishers and a small workforce. “So far we must have cooked and served meals for 2.5 lakh people,” he says with a trace of satisfaction and satisfaction, earlier than he begins distributing necessities on a new day.

Now that the lockdown measures have been relaxed, the demand for meals and necessities have declined and Jeevan’s workforce is distributing the remaining inventory of groceries to those that nonetheless want them.

Jeevan is chef and co-owner of Charcoal BBQ in Madhapur, and an actor who has featured in Telugu movies Saaho, Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi, Falaknuma Das and Meeku Maathrame Cheptha, amongst others.

Each night time Charcoal BBQ closed operations, he and his workforce would feed stray canines in the neighborhood with the leftover meals.

Business was brisk till the COVID-19 lockdown. Jeevan by no means imagined that someday he would have a small workforce simply to prepare dinner for day by day wagers, migrant employees and anybody in want of meals.

Jeevan remembers, “Soon after restaurants were ordered to close down, we had a lot of meat and cooked food. As usual we were feeding street dogs near the restaurant when we noticed that people too needed food.” That left him shaken.

The subsequent day, he learnt that hostels in Madhapur had been shut and these cooks had been in search of work. He employed a few of them. As he noticed the plight of day by day wagers owing to lockdown, Jeevan felt he needed to do one thing. He and his enterprise companions dug into their financial savings to assist.

Cooking started at the restaurant and at the kitchens of a few of the hostels close by. Tamarind rice, vegetable biryani and curd rice had been made in bulk.

Ripple impact

During the first distribution drives, 400 meals packets had been picked up inside 10 minutes and almost 3000 folks had been catered to in the first week. Soon, phrase bought round and requests poured in from areas close to Madhapur, Kukatpally and Gachibowli.

Jeevan sought the assist of Gachibowli police commissionerate. “I was worried that one of us might get infected with COVID-19. We took police help to know which localities need help and to ensure social distancing,” he says.

Financial assist additionally got here in from the movie fraternity. Director Tharun Bhascker, actors Sushanth, Nandu, Anasuya Bharadwaj, Hari Teja, singer Geeta Madhuri and others got here ahead to sponsor meals and necessities.

Packets of important groceries for distribution  
| Photo Credit:
By arrangement

The distribution drive bought larger with every passing day. “We started distributing kits with five kilograms of rice, one kilogram each of pulses, oil and salt. We fed street dogs wherever we went. Supermarkets would alert us when they got fresh stock of dog food,” says Jeevan.

Requests additionally got here in from farmers who needed to promote their produce that couldn’t be transported simply resulting from lockdown measures. In the first batch, 5000 kilograms of recent greens had been bought, adopted by extra orders in the following weeks. “Once, when 10000 kilograms of vegetables arrived, we got permission to use the Ramanaidu Hall at Film Chamber building to segregate and pack the vegetables into kits for distribution,” says Jeevan.

Looking again, Jeevan is glad he and his workforce might assist folks during the lockdown.

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