A few days back, Mahita Nagaraj received a frantic call from her friend based in the UK. Stranded abroad, she wanted Mahita to send some rations for her octogenarian parents residing in Koramangala, Bengaluru. She was concerned about her parents going outside in the times of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, where senior citizens happen to be the most vulnerable victims.
Mahita, who fortunately was passing through Koramangala at the time, promised her friend to deliver the goods personally to the elderly couple. The following day, she received a similar request from one of her US-based friends, who wanted Mahita to help provide elderly parents with some urgent medicines and essentials.
“The idea just struck me then. Doctors worldwide have advised senior citizens to practise social distancing to the utmost. Many of my relatives and friends who are settled abroad, are worried about the health and safety of their elderly parents in Bengaluru. I decided to volunteer for them and deliver essential groceries, rations and medicines at their doorsteps,” shares Mahita.
She posted her decision on Facebook, urging her friends and acquaintances to approach her without any hesitation in case their parents need anything at all. Little did she imagine that her simple Facebook status would usher in a revolutionary endeavour across the country – the Caremongering Initiative.
Fighting Coronavirus: Movement Spread to All Parts of India
Speaking to The Better India, the 38-year-old Digital Marketeer and mother of one exclaims, “I did not expect to gain such a widespread response. People across Bengaluru started calling me offering to volunteer for the elderly, children, pregnant women, new mothers and basically anyone in urgent need.”
On Tuesday 17 March, Mahita started the ‘Caremongers India’ public group on Facebook, which already has nearly 500 willing volunteers. Within a day of its launch, the movement saw active participation from people in Bengaluru as well as Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Noida, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha.
The members share their contact details and convenient areas for anyone to ask for help. “Recently, we got a call from a mother at 6:30 AM who urgently needed baby formula for her infant. One of our volunteers near Kanakpura Road made the delivery within half an hour,” shares Mahita.
She also recounts an encounter yesterday that touched her heart. “I stay near Shanthi Nagar. Around lunch time, I received a call from the cutest octogenarian couple near MG Road. The man told me that the ATM near their home had run out cash, which he needed soon. He asked if I can deliver him some cash after he transfers the money online to me. I helped them out as soon as I could. Their gratitude and kindness really filled my heart,” narrates Mahita.
Taking all Necessary Precautions
The volunteers from Caremongers Initiative make sure to strictly abide by the protocols of contactless delivery. Mahita herself is extra careful about this since she stays with her elderly mother and minor son – both belonging to the critical age groups for infection. She either delivers the parcels to the security guards or leaves it at the doorsteps.
“I have to protect my family as well. I cannot be a transmitter (of the COVID-19 coronavirus),” she asserts with concern in her voice.
The dedicated Caremongers believe that it is high time for the youth in the community to come forward and stand beside the elderly population. Their motto – Stop Scaremongering, Start Caremongering – urges people to stop spreading panic and rather be kind and empathetic to all.
You can also be a Caremonger today by joining this group and sharing your contact details: Caremongers India.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)