What is Faith Kitchen? Who is running it? To what purpose? You know, all these are unnecessary questions. The most important thing is that this is an effort to feed the poorest during the partial lockdown. Why? Because they are always the most sorely affected by the lockdowns; because these are people who fall through the cracks and are not able to access government help of any kind, possibly due to ignorance on their own parts.
Faith Kitchen is working out of North Block, Kohima. Donors are anonymous as this is about tending to the needs of the weakest members of society, and it is not about getting photos to put up on social media to increase your like value.
Anyone can donate. Anyone can do something to help.
Who are the poorest of the poor? The ones we walk past without a second thought.
A 55-year-old woman works as a vegetable vendor getting vegetables from her village to sell in town. She supports her nephew and niece with her meagre earnings. For her, everything depends on getting supplies on a daily basis which she sells at a low profit. The money earned daily is spent on food for her herself and her dependants.
Another woman, who is in her forties, works at an eatery in town. She is the only able-bodied adult in her family. She and her hearing-impaired husband have three young children.
If you happen to drive through town after six pm, after all the shops are closed and the streets are supposed to be deserted, there is a surprise in store. The streets are taken over by women selling paan, tamul and cigarettes on the wayside with their little wooden boxes. Amongst these women is a partially blind Nepali woman. She would be in her seventies now, and she has been at this trade for more than twenty years now. I have learned to stop judging people who are forced to sell paan tamul for a living. They do what they can to feed their children. If that is what customers will buy, they sell it. Who are we to judge them? This woman was blinded in one eye by her husband many years ago. The husband thankfully died some years ago. Faith Kitchen is there to help her and women like her who cannot afford to rent a shop and can only bring out a shoe box after sunset and try to earn what they can from customers who are not always well mannered and considerate. Faith Kitchen is about reaching the people most affected by the pandemic.
A Muslim family is struggling where the father is a daily wage earner, and loses employment when lockdown, even if partial, is declared. He has three young children all attending government school. There will be more like this. Can we let them starve in front of our eyes?
Faith Kitchen is not associated with any church organisation. It is a project that welcomes help from any individual who understands the objective of the project which is simply to be a small beacon of light in the darkness, a safe harbour for the forgotten.
How can you help? By donating food or money. Donate rice, potatoes, dal, salt, sugar, tea, milk powder and any food items that are not easily perishable, and not past the expiry date please. There is no virtue in donating food items that would make the poor sick since they have no means to pay for medical expenses.
Anyone can help. College students included. In this day and age, electronic banking has made it easy to help a cause. Any amount is welcome.
If you want to help, contact Faith Kitchen at this number: 8730055611.
If you don’t have money, but still want to help, you can be a volunteer, helping with carrying the shopping and identifying poorest of the poor in your colonies that need help. Or better still, start your own Faith Kitchen. With the restrictions on movement, best to start your own Faith kitchen and help your own poor.
There is nothing in it for the people behind Faith Kitchen. But for a recipient of the Kitchen, it could mean everything. This is why Faith Kitchen is important. People coming forward to help other people. That is what will truly make a difference and revive compassion in our hearts. Amen.