The food bank is open tomorrow….

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 31

A month ago I would not have believed that my final March slice of 2020 would contain the news that we are opening a food bank for families of our students. I have spent most of the day trying to work out the logistics of sourcing basic food necessities like rice, dahl (pulses), sugar, oil, potatoes, onions, soap and tea to make up a mini food bank so needy parents can come by and pick up some rations tomorrow. We trust supplies continue to come through so we can keep topping up essential items.

We hope the poorest parents can come, but even that remains uncertain this evening, because nothing has been made clear. There is another loudspeaker announcement in progress right now, but alas, I don’t speak the language. A friend will let us know if it’s important.

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Life is not very coordinated here at present. If you go out early in the morning, it’s usually okay and a very few shops in the market or along the main street are open for a few hours, different ones each day. Today some fresh vegetable supplies came through and I bought vegetables, more than enough, but the concern always is, when will more get through?

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So many have no savings and live day to day and now each day brings no wages because all day labourers have lost their jobs because of the lockdown. Fortunately some friends of our recent frisbee playing cycling guests donated money to the school. Now some of that can go towards feeding the students’ families.

The police were out in force today, as some people thought it was going to be a market day (this usually happens twice a week). Some then foolishly refused to disperse and a few suffered the consequences. Fortunately police at the moment are armed only with lathis (a kind of long stick). This is a microcosm of the chaos and misery that is happening throughout the rest of the country particularly around major cities.

I was told by a policeman today that, as a foreigner, I was the reason he was out there patrolling the streets to protect local people. It was not a pleasant encounter.

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Ruby checking if there is anything edible for her in all this stock. She drew a blank.

To end on a positive note, one of our teachers has just told me that the students he contacted today by phone (as part of our staying in touch strategy) were both thrilled and excited that someone was ringing up and chatting to them. I think it’s probably the first personal phone call they have ever had.

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14 thoughts on “The food bank is open tomorrow….

  1. Thanks for sharing what life is like wherever you are. It makes the world feel less big. I am in a big city in the US and it feels very familiar, reading your piece. We have a regular weekly food bank in our school and it had to shut down as the school shut down. I got a message from a family over the weekend asking about other food sources as their supply was running low. It broke my heart.

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  2. You say that people donate to the school. How would one go about doing that right now? I’d rather support someone I “know” through tough times that an anonymous donation. I’m sure I’m not alone. (Unfortunately I’m not sure that “throwing money at the problem” is particularly useful right now, but…)

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    1. If you contact me on my email fishermcmrl@hotmail.com, I can give you details of how to donate, many thanks for your concern. At the moment the problem is supplies as the supply chain is being hit all over India because all daily wage earners have gone back to their villages or been sacked. It’s awful….

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  3. I echo JumpOffFindWings – let me know if donations will help your students get through this time. I’m watching this pandemic spread to your part of the world with some trepidation. Food insecurity will be difficult, indeed. I’m glad at least the phone calls brought a moment of pleasure.

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    1. Thank you so much for your concern likewise, yesterday was super busy dividing up stocks for families and issuing them a little at a time. We’ve supplied 12 families or about 70 individuals so far and it feels very good. BUT we need stocks to come through or we will run out…. my email is fishermcmrl@hotmail.com if you want details on how to help.

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  4. Thank you for sharing what is happening for you and your community. It has been wonderful to read your work and learn more about life where you are. Hoping that things go well with your food bank. And I *do* hope you’ll continue to write!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading. I plan to keep writing on Tuesdays, at least given the current circumstances, so I can keep this community updated from here. As mentioned above we have supplied about 12 families so far, we are initially reaching out to the poorest of the poor. Yesterday was a very satisfying day! Now we have to believe for supplies to keep reaching us here.

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