By Khushboo Messurani
When coronavirus first hit the world last year, lockdowns across the world helped people to become aware, attentive, and cautious about the consequences. Soon, when 2nd wave hit the country, it caused extensive damage.
The paucity of oxygen cylinders, plasma, food, and beds heightened social tensions. Despite the dire situation, many people came forward to help by offering food, housing, money, transportation, and oxygen cylinders, among other things. People like actor Sonu Sood did his bit, but there is one other guy who deserves to be recognised for his contribution amid the raging pandemic.
Jigneshbhai Vyas, an Ahmedabad local, has been running a kitchen for labourers for the past 30 years, where free food is available 24 hours a day. Jigneshbhai had such passion for public service that he resigned from his government job as a collector since he could not make time for himself and for what he wanted to do. He decided to quit his work and began a travelling business. In addition, he devotes whatever spare time he has to social service.
When asked where did he get the inspiration for such social service, he says, “Since childhood, I used to help people as much as I could. Even during my government job, I used to take out time and try to help people. After marriage, my wife had the same belief as mine. Furthermore, this passion for helping others flew with great velocity and became a part of my everyday life.”
“The collector’s office job used to consume a lot of my time. So I decided to quit the job in 2010. I started my own business and in the initial stage, I used the income from farming, in the social service. Later it grew to such an extent that both of us, husband and wife decided not to have children of our own and started spending our entire time helping others.
The thought that “no one should sleep with an empty stomach” motivated them.
After leaving the government job, Jigneshbhai started his own travel business under the name Mahadev Travels. His wife, Jignaben has also been involved in social service with him for over 30 years now. At present, she is the councilor of her area. “It is our sincere bid that no one in our city goes to bed hungry,” she says. Apart from a free kitchen, the duo also distributes clothes, footwear, warm clothes, blankets, tarpaulins, and free medicines to the poor and working-class people. Jigneshbhai says, “By doing their work, they also have free time and resources to help the needy.’
Besides, the couple also distribute sweets, snacks, and kites, crackers to the poor children on every festival like Diwali, Dussehra, Navratri, Makar Sankranti, so that those children also enjoy and celebrate these occasions like every other child.
Started Tiffin service during Corona
When the covid-induced lockdown came into force for the first time last year, Jigneshbhai and Jignaben started Tiffin service, as people could not come and eat to the kitchens built by them due to lockdown limitations. For this, proper mobile numbers were issued, on which food could be ordered from anywhere. Apart from this, both of them also started the work of delivering Tiffin to all the government hospitals of Upleta Tehsil, so that patients and their relatives do not have to worry about food.
Saving several lives
Recalling an incident during the pandemic, Jignesh Bhai says, “On April 20, I got a call from the family of a patient from Kutchana tehsil. The family told us that the patient’s oxygen level has dropped to 63 and we are not able to get ventilators in any hospital. I immediately left for Bitchina with my friends. Look at lord Mahadev’s grace that after visiting a hospital in Jamnagar I found that a ventilator was vacant. We immediately took the patient there. It was the grace of God that the patient’s life was saved.”