Volunteers of the Seva Mitra Mandal distribute food to students in Pune on Sunday. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)
Volunteers of the Seva Mitra Mandal distribute food to students in Pune on Sunday. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)

Free food, books home delivered: mandals in Pune make life easier

PUNE Life in lockdown is anything, but easy
By Dheeraj Bengrut
UPDATED ON MAY 10, 2021 05:04 PM IST

PUNE Life in lockdown is anything, but easy. To give a helping hand to students in Pune city, the Seva Mitra Mandal is giving out meals, twice a day, to 150 students.

Several Ganpati mandals in Pune are contributing in various ways to help the needy. The Seva Mitra Mandal is located in Shukrwar peth.

“Since the lockdown started we began getting calls from students living in our area. There are hundreds of students living here who have come from other districts for studying. Most are dependent on food messes, but now they cannot afford it. So we decided to start daily meals for students, for lunch and dinner. 150 students are registered with us, who takeaway food parcels from our Ganpati temple,” said Shirish Mohite, Seva Mitra Mandal president.

Tushar Katkar, one of the students who food from the mandal, said, “I am from Latur and preparing for competitive exams. I came back to Pune in February with a hope that all things are normalised. I am stuck here and do not have enough money. Seva Mitra Mandal helped me and many other students by giving us food.”

Similarly, another Ganpati mandal has come up with a unique idea to help children who are now bored at home watching TV and playing mobile games.

Sainath Mitra Mandal on Shivaji road has started an unique concept of “Lockdown library” for children. Books are being delivered to children to to discourage them from screen time.

Sainath Mitra Mandal volunteers distribute books to children in Narayan peth on Sunday. (HT)
Sainath Mitra Mandal volunteers distribute books to children in Narayan peth on Sunday. (HT)

Piyush Shah, president of the mandal, said, “It is summer time. Schools and their online lectures or tests are over and children are at home. Due to lockdown no one goes out unless it is an emergency, and most of the children only watch TV or play mobile games. To distract them and encourage their reading habit we started this initiative of through our Ganpati mandal. There are around 16 Ganpati mandals across Pune city who are working under this initiative. Volunteers give the books at home and children read them. Right from the peth areas, Sinhagad road, Ahmednagar road, Vishrantwadi, Hadapsar, Dhankawadi and Katraj, in all thse areas mandals are working.”

“We got 5,000 books from some wholesalers and then we classified books as per the age of the child. Then through the social media platforms we spread the word and started getting a good response. We give the book to a child and then request their parents to give that book to another child after reading the book,” added Shah.

Welcoming this initiative, Anshul Anil Mohite, a 12-year-old who got books to read from the library said, “I am so happy to get these books to read. All are story books and in different languages. In the last one year I hardly read any other book apart from my study books. We also get bored at home and only watching TV, now I am looking forward to get more books from the library.”

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