Itahari : On 30 July 2019, some philanthropic locals of Itahari ran a program called ‘Sahayogi Bhitta’ (which roughly translates as supportive wall). The concept of the wall ,which was set up at Reyukai Chautari of the Itahari square, was to run a cloth bank. In cloth bank, capable and supportive people would drop their cloths and needy people could take them away for their use. ”The concept was a huge success in Itahari as so many people turned out to donate cloths for needy people”, said Bharat Shrestha, the co-coordinator of the program.
After one year of its inception, now, the supportive wall has turned from clothing junction to the food bank for needy people. ”We have converted our concept from cloths to food as the CPVID-19 has troubled many people from lowest section of our society”, said Shrestha.
He added, ”People are joining hands to support our campaign. We have been collecting hand sanitizers, facemasks, daily eatables like rice, lentils, salt, sugar, oil, vegetables, flattened rice, among others, for affected people.” Shrestha said they have distributed food and other necessary items to around 500 people of Itahari 6 and 9.
”The number will be increasing in the days ahead”, said Shrestha. He said the support program is mainly targeted to daily wage earners and homeless people. Since August 26, Yosha Guragain of Itahari-4 ran another food bank to support marginalized section of the society including Dalits and daily wage earners of Itahari. Since the beginnings of the food bank more than 300 families are benefited from this food bank until September 1, said Guragain. She added, ”We have distributed our food items to the needy people of Itahari 1,3,4, 17 and surrounding wards of Itahari.”
Liberal Society, a philanthropic network of youths of Tarahara of Itahari, is also distributing nutritious food items to infected people. ”Since August 31, we are distributing nutritious food like eggs, bananas, fresh juice, facemask, sanitizer, home-made herbs and other necessary items”, said Subekchhu Dewan Rai, the chair of the society.
He added, ‘We reached out to 6 infected patients and handed over our support. This was also a program to inspire people to be more empathetic to the pandemic patients. We did so after many instances of hatreds at the patients were surfaced in various places of Nepal including in Itahari ward number 5.”
Food bank for needy journalists
Food banks run by Bharat Shrestha and Yosha Guragain and nutritious food delivery program by Sibekchhu Dewan Rai are mainly focused on public. There is another functional food bank in Itahari which is for professional section of the society.
On 20 August, a meeting of Press Union Sunsari decided to establish food bank to support needy journalists of the district. Journalists living in Itahari, Dharan, Jhumka, among others, were provided food items. Around 53 journalists are given the support at their doorsteps until September 1, informed Pawan Adhikari, the chair of Press Union Sunsari.
Every needy journalist was given daily eatables including 25 kg rice, 2 kg lentil, 2 kg salt, 2-liter oil and other food items like flattened rice, dry soya chunks, among others. The food bank was not funded by outside but only by journalists, said chair Adhikari.
Before the establishment of food bank, Press Union Sunsari had insured 260 working journalists of the district and also managed to fund the treatment of journalists at Nobel Medical College of Biratnagar.
Disinfection drive in full swing
Besides establishing food banks to help support needy people and delivering nutritious eatables to the pandemic patients, locals of Itahari are also joining forces for disinfection drives.
Aspatal Tole Bikas Sanstha of Itahari-9 started disinfection drive for the first time. Chair Bijay Kc-led disinfection drive carried its task in all important areas of the locality. Since August 21 all areas of the ward number 9 of Itahari Sub-Metropolis were disinfected. ”Community donors and volunteers supported this cause”, said KC.
Liberal Society of Itahari-20 Tarahara carried out disinfection drive since August 24. ”We sanitized public places and some areas near by infected locals by using sodium hydrochloride ”, said Subekchhu Dewan Rai, the chair of the society. He added, ”The program titled ‘Let’s Fight Against Corona’ was funded by members and sympathizers of our society.”
Lions Club of Itahari Active has also thrown its weight behind 20-day-long disinfection drive, the longest one in the town. Starting from August 24, the campaign will last until September 13, informed Jitendra Thapa, who is actively engaged in the program.
Ranju Sigdel, Punya Poudel, Navin Pokhrel, Madan Chudal, among others, are actively participated in the disinfection drive. ”We have covered disinfection and sanitization programs in ward number 4,5 and 12 already”, said Thapa, ”Today (September 1), we are scheduled to do our task on ward number 9 and 3 until evening.”
He added, ”This disinfection and sanitization drive is performed for two reasons. One, to contribute our societal responsibility from our organization. Two, to boost emotional strength of locals by disinfecting in areas where there are more cases of the pandemic in the town.”