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Indian diocese launches food aid for poor Covid patients

Ranchi Archdiocese distributes nutrition packets among patients of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences

Indian diocese launches food aid for poor Covid patients

Ranchi Archdiocese began distributing fruit and supplementary food packets to Covid-19 patients at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences on June 2. (Photo supplied)

An archdiocese in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has launched a service to distribute fruits and nutrition supplements to patients and their attendants hospitalized with Covid-19.

Ranchi Archdiocese last month distributed packed non-vegetarian lunch packets outside Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Archbishop Felix Toppo of Ranchi said while inaugurating the latest initiative on June 2.

“The archdiocese has always a soft corner for the poor, the marginalized and the suffering. After the success of the previous project, it has now begun daily distribution of nutrition packets to over 300 patients hospitalized for Covid-19 in RIMS in Ranchi," he said.

“The hospital is frequented by the poorest of the poor and though meals are provided by the government, the patients do not have the means to avail of complementary food items like fruits, biscuits, fruit juices, mineral water and beaten rice.

“Seminarians of Ranchi Archdiocese and Ranchi Catholic youth will help deliver over 300 packets containing these items every day.”

Auxiliary Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi said the archdiocese's Catholic youth have been distributing cooked packed foods for over 800 needy persons every day for over a month outside RIMS and its surroundings.

Ranchi Archdiocese brought humanitarian aid, solidarity and consolation to people without regard to ethnicity, religion or caste

“However, the number of needy persons has been increasing very fast and it's becoming difficult to maintain social distancing, hence it was decided to alter the method of helping the poor by bringing supplementary food directly to the patients,” he said.

The archdiocese will soon launch a program to distribute dry rations of rice, pulses, potatoes, cooking oil, salt, spices and onions in portions that will last for two weeks for a family.

He emphasised that the Church is able to serve the poor only because many religious congregations and benefactors belonging to many faiths have been generously donating to the cause.

When India went into lockdown in March 2020, Ranchi Archdiocese brought humanitarian aid, solidarity and consolation to people without regard to ethnicity, religion or caste.

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Their food kits last year — containing rice, legumes, soybeans and other ingredients — were distributed to over 50 disadvantaged families in the Dom Koch shanty and over 90 families in Kafur shanty.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand's government has extended its lockdown to June 10 in view of the pandemic. On June 1, the state reported 14 Covid deaths, taking the death toll to 4,991. It has 8,907 active cases, while 323,876 patients have recovered, according to state data. 

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