New York-based Indian entrepreneur and celebrity chef, Vikas Khanna, has strong faith in the power of solidarity. That is what led him to host a massive Eid feast amidst the COVID-19 lockdown in Mumbai on May 21, 2020. Khanna's team in India, along with the help of 200 volunteers, and personnel from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) distributed food items and utensils around Mohammed Ali Road, Dharavi and Mahim Dargah in Mumbai. This included 1,00,000+ kg of dry ration, fresh and dry fruits, spices, sugar, seviyan (vermicelli), oil, tea, juice and kitchen utensils. They managed to feed two lakh people for Eid al fitr 2020 in the city, he confirmed on social media. Khanna describes it as the ‘world’s largest Eid feast’ on Twitter.
Watch the video here:
The 48-year-old chef is the man behind the success of the Michelin-starred restaurant Junoon in New York and while he could not be in India himself to oversee the donations and distributions, he rallied support from various stakeholders. Khanna took to social media to thank all the brands, foundations, companies and volunteers who made this possible.
Khanna, who is also an author and filmmaker, has been able to procure and distribute almost seven million meals (dry ration and cooked) to the needy across 135 cities in India since April 2020, according to recent Instagram post. It began with supplying food essentials to orphanages, old-age homes and leprosy centres and, today, his supply chain also reaches migrant workers across highways in the country with the help of NDRF.
On May 21, 2020, Khanna and his team successfully launched his latest initiative, ‘Fuel Stations to Food Stations’. The program aims to provide food to migrant workers who are walking hundreds of miles to return to their hometowns and villages at designated petrol pumps on Indian highways. In addition to that, he has also partnered with Procter & Gamble and Niine India to hand out sanitary napkins. “Sanitary pads are an essential item. Since the COVID-19 lockdown in India, we have secured/distributed more than half [a] million in 8 cities,” he posted on Instagram on May 24, 2020. His post was accompanied by a few photos, check them out below:
While Khanna is living in lockdown since New York is one of the worst-affected cities in the world, according to his interview with IANS Life, he coordinates daily via phone calls to make things happen and this supply has connected him a lot with people at the ground level.
Banner image: Facebook/Vikas Khanna