Joining the frontline warriors in a fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is Sana Arora, a change-maker who has been on a mission to eradicate hunger from the streets of Mumbai for several years now. Originally from Chandigarh, when Sana moved to Mumbai in 2012 for work, she was startled to witness a very different side of the city. While on her way to work, she would come across children who would beg for alms, or point towards their stomach asking for food. She was disturbed to see how helpless and desperate these children were, and their condition reminded her of all those times when there was leftover food wasted.
Determined to help, Sana started collecting extra or leftover food from home and handing it to these homeless families. Most of them being daily wage workers who eat to survive for the day, they had no hope when their next meal would be. With 150 of them cluttered under the bridge, her help wasn’t enough, so she reached out to her neighbours for food donations. Though they were hesitant at first, the news about her cause gained momentum and some even suggested to help run a bigger drive by providing freshly-cooked meals. Overwhelmed by the support, Sana knew she had finally found her calling to give back to society with community service.
After a few drives, she connected with the recipients to realise that their definition of meals was very different. Also, their level of food insecurity was high. Hence, giving them ration essentials would be more beneficial so they can plan their meals according to their needs. So, she shifted to donating rations instead. In 2017 Sana founded The Feed’em Movement, which officially recognised her purpose and cause. She started crowdfunding by reaching out to her networks, spreading the word through social media, and joining several community service societies. According to her - ‘You can either be an audience or a participant to these unfortunate situations in our society’ and she chose the latter.
The Feed’em Movement led by Sana and her team of volunteers is a registered trust and an organised model that they follow to serve the underprivileged with ration packs of pulses, rice, flour, oil and salt among others. They have adopted communities such as the homeless families, the shelter homes, the night schools, where they have introduced a special Attendance Reward Programme to increase attendance by giving out ration kits to the child with the highest attendance. The fourth category caters to slums wherein they distribute rations to the old, the disabled, and the widows above 60s who can’t fend for themselves. Having come a long way from being a one-woman army balancing her corporate job and these food drives, today Sana and her team have successfully carried out more than 100 drives, and served over 1 Lakh meals in the last 3 years!
With no aim to halt her drives even during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her team have been consistently in touch with the communities and are sending out ration kits to needy areas. An inspiration for many, there’s nothing that can stop this young lady from achieving her mission of eradicating hunger. Despite facing the challenges of balancing her two worlds, she aims to serve at least 1 lakh meals in 2020!
The Giving Circle salutes her passion, her dedication, and her cause that has not only helped the homeless and food-deprived families but has helped reduce food wastage and improve attendance at night schools too. Sana has been successfully debunking the myth that social work and charity is for the old or when you hit the post-retirement phase. She urges the young and old to not only figure out how to donate but to adopt food insecure communities and participate in community service as well. She has been putting in incredible efforts to help fight hunger, you can join her or support her too by reading more about her cause on the Giving Circle. Planning to do something similar in your area? You can start a circle on Giving Circle today!