Five teenagers from Suncity township in Sector 54 have started a “Share-a-meal” volunteer programme in which they deliver home-cooked, fresh food packets to slum children every Sunday.
Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” We have all heard this and we all believe in it but how many of us are able to implement it.
Well, five teenagers from Suncity, a township in Gurugram’s Sector 54, are doing just that it in their own way.
Every Sunday, these kids collect home-cooked, fresh food packets from several houses in their society and deliver these to the nearby slum on the Golf Course Extension Road. Started about a month back, the teenagers proudly share that they are feeding around 100 slum children every week. In a month, they have managed to feed more than 500 hundred kids till now.
16-year-old Devanshi Bhandari, who first thought of the idea, says that this is their little contribution to a huge problem. “Whenever we go out, everyone in my family makes sure that we carry some biscuits and fresh water bottles with us to give to the homeless kids on the streets. But I wanted to do something more,” Devanshi said, adding that this is when she and her brother thought of starting “Share-a-meal” club in their society.
“We immediately called our friends in the society to volunteer for the cause and three of them happily agreed to join,” Devanshi said.
The next step for the kids was to get support from the residents. “We made pamphlets asking people to provide us with meal packets every Sunday and then we knocked on all of the 300 houses in the township asking them to participate in high numbers. It was heartening to see the huge support we received,” said eighth-grader Aayush Bhandari, Devanshi’s brother. The other three members in the group are Sayali Bhise (17), Snigdha Saluja (14) and Ranya Sharma (16).
Their first visit was to the slum behind DPS International School on the Extension Road where they distributed 80-100 food packets. “Our first visit to the slum shook us. We all knew that the living conditions are bad at these places. But they were far worse than what any of us could have imagined. There were kids there who hadn’t had a proper meal for a week. They had never been to school. They had no access to a washroom,” said Devanshi.
The kids then started a WhatsApp group by the same name – Share-a-meal – for residents to participate in huge numbers. “Now, every Sunday, we put cartons in the lobby of all the 13 towers, so that people can drop their meal packets in it. We always request them to make it nutritious and fun by giving a stuffed parantha, sandwiches, a fruit and also something sweet like a candy or chocolate,” Devanshi said.
“It’s so heartwarming to see our kids contribute to the community in whichever way they can. It gives me a great pleasure to see both of my children spend their Sunday for a good cause instead of getting hooked onto screens,” said Surabhi Bhandari, their proud mother. The parents have been driving the kids to the slums so far but now they are getting more volunteers.
The society also has a community fridge at the main gate where anyone can take out food.
One of the proudest volunteers to kids’ initiative is an octogenarian from the society, Krishan Bassi, who loves to serve slum children his favourite samosa and breadpakora. “This community service by kids has made all of us at Suncity immensely proud. We all love to crib about the many problems of our city has but not many are willing to make any efforts in finding a solution. These kids are doing that and we should support it whole-heartedly,” said 81-year-old.