Distributing food parcels
More than ever before, your donations have been essential over the last 9 months of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of you, we at Tiljala SHED were able to mobilise instantly to bring much needed food parcels to thousands of destitute families who found themselves hungry.
When India locked down in March 2020, millions of daily labourers found themselves immediately out of work. There was no work for rickshaw drivers, street vendors, domestic servants. Beggars and rag pickers weren't even allowed to go onto the streets to try to make enough money to eat. So we found crowds of desperate people outside our offices asking for help.
A handful of Tiljala SHED's staff, who lived close by, were able to begin to take names, hand out coupons and arrange for individuals to return, masked and distanced, to collect food rations for their families. We then purchased sacks of rice, lentils, potatoes, onions, oil and other basics. Our staff packed the goods through the night and then distributed the packages day after day. We took relief to different parts of Kolkata where the need was greatest and even mounted an expedition out to the Sundarbans to distribute food relief to families who had had suffered the double catastrophe of COVID lockdown and Cyclone Amphan which has swept away their homes.
In all you helped us to feed over 35,000 people in 2020. And just when things seemed to be getting better, another disaster struck. On 10th November, fire swept through the Topsia Canalside Squatter community, leaving nearly 200 families homeless. Many lost all their possessions either through the fire or by throwing their belongings into the canal in the hope of saving them later. Until today we continue our relief efforts for these families.
Your donations have enabled us to provide the necessary relief quickly and efficiently to many thousands of families. You have certainly saved lives and livelihoods. Please continue to help us as the crisis is by no means over - and even when life returns to normal, there are always families and individuals who need emergency relief.
Distribution in the Sundarbans
The Tiljala SHED Team
Homeless after the Topsia fire