While the COVID-19 pandemic placed an unprecedented challenge before the country, we also came across stories of people coming forward to help others during this troubled time. Another such story is of Pune’s Akansha Sadekar who has been providing 7000 meals daily for free. According to The Better India, it all started with Akansha's love for her brother Soham, a medical intern at Kashibai Navale Hospital and Medical College. After her brother faced difficulty in managing his food, Akansha decided to deliver him daily tiffin in November 2020. Soon, her tiffin gained popularity and she was delivering over 100 tiffins daily.
Meanwhile, in April this year when the government imposed a restriction to curb COVID-19, Akansha came across a tweet where a person was venting his disappointment at being unable to have food after a 12-hour long shift. He could not even order food online because of the restriction and Akansha decided to offer him help and offered meal delivery which was accepted by the man.
The tweet soon went viral and Akansha started getting requests to provide meals. However, to cater to such a large number of requests Akansha's home kitchen was too small and she decided to approach restaurants that were closed because of COVID-19. She managed to get some of these restaurants on board and started delivering meals to people.
While delivering the meals Akanksha would often be stopped by police to enquire about her purpose of stepping out during lockdowns. During such interaction, some police officers told her about street dwellers who had been facing problems managing their food. She then decided to deliver meal packages to these street dwellers and the police personnel who could not always access food during their duty time.
Later, she also started supplying nearly 2500 meals to the sex workers who lived in a nearby area and were severely hit by the COVID-19 restrictions.
The efforts have now moved to mission scale and Akansha, with her friends Akansha Mathur Sharma from Gujarat has recently set up a Purushottam Malati Foundation and are seeking donation to meet the ever-increasing demand of the meals. They plan to raise Rs 15 lakh from donations so that they can continue delivering the meals for free.