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Kashmir Relief Drive

Kashmir Relief Drive

The Kashmir Relief Drive was a spontaneous initiative that came from a group of enthusiastic students, spearheaded by Mr.Karan Mehra of TY. Parallelly Ms. Pulkita Vaish –Samarpan Culb Head, tied up with the NGO- Goonj and SICSR to collect donated items for Jammu and Kashmir Flood victims. Below is a detailed account of the same, in the words of the students themselves.

Organising a food drive of this scale was no easy task. It took the efforts of 112 strong people. We divided Pune into 4 different areas, deploying teams of 3 into further sub-divisions. The drive started at 10 am in the morning and lasted till 6pm, with a two hour break in between. We employed two different approaches for collecting non-perishable food.

A door-to-door approach: Every area chosen had a drop-off point which served as the centre of the collection zone. A few people were given the task of heading different areas. The food collected from the groups was brought to this point when it exceeded a certain capacity. This was carried out with seamlessly. The groups consisted of three people, to ensure that collection work was not interrupted when one member went away to the drop-off point.

The second approach involved local supermarkets and department stores like Big Bazaar, Reliance Fresh, Spencer, More etc. A few groups were stationed at the entrance of the stores. They would approach people, motivating them to donate. The customers would pick up foodstuff as they headed out of the shop and hand it over to the volunteers. This approach was highly successful as well.

Of course, no task of this scale can be expected to be a cakewalk. We faced many different challenges along the way. The first was convincing people to donate. Many of the households the volunteers visited were hostile toward them. Some donated generously while others slammed doors on us. We had predicted that we would get more donations from the haves rather than the have-nots. However, what we witnessed was exactly the opposite. The have-nots, it turns out, are more willing to part with their food than the haves!

At the end of the day, when we consolidated all the collected food, we were left in awe. What started off with a single rice grain transformed into a mountain of food. The response was tremendous and visibly overwhelming. The total collection was:

  • 1000 Kg of grains – which included 16 sacks of rice, 4 sacks of dal
  • 4 sacks of wheat
  • 2 sacks of sugar
  • 3 cartons of biscuits
  • 1 carton of Maggi
  • 3 cartons of ready to eat food

What started off with 30 students of SSE snowballed into a massive avalanche of a hundred plus which took over Pune, in just 6 hours of unstoppable determination, to make a difference in the lives of many. The experience that each one of us experienced was something we will never ever in our lives forget, and I hope that by doing this SSE made a difference.