Feature: Indonesian volunteers offer free food to self-isolating COVID-19 patients

2021-07-30 06:35:25 GMT2021-07-30 14:35:25(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Hayati Nupus

JAKARTA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- In the courtyard of his narrow house-turned-kitchen in a small alley in Bandung, Indonesia's West Java province, every day Ghufron Lana distributes free chicken porridge to self-isolating COVID-19 patients.

Lana, 35, who is a chicken porridge seller at a traditional market in Bandung, has been providing free food since early July amid a surge in coronavirus transmissions.

Lana first provided porridge for 15 people nearby, but soon he felt the need to help more in difficulty.

"Some small businesses went bankrupt because of the (public activity) restrictions," Lana told Xinhua.

Lana then took the initiative to expand the reach of his free porridge service to those who live within a maximum radius of 2 km from his house.

To get a free porridge, they only have to send positive COVID-19 swab test results via app numbers listed on a digital leaflet. However, the leaflets were widespread, even reaching people living up to 10 km away.

"As they are also in difficulty, I want to help them too," he said.

As requests for free porridge were soaring, sometimes Lana would deliver up to 700 packs a day.

Although more people have joined by providing him with money or rice, Lana has used up to 10 million rupiahs (about 690 U.S. dollars) in his savings to carry out the move.

Several neighbors came in the morning to help him cook, and a number of motorcycle taxis assisted him in delivering the food to patients' homes. Sometimes the drivers had to take detours since a number of roads were closed due to restrictions.

Iklima Maulida, 21, is one of the people who were helped by Lana's kindness. Every day, Maulida receives four portions of porridge for herself and her father, mother, and sister who were all infected with COVID-19.

"In the early morning, it was still a bit dark, a big bag of warm porridge arrived for us," she said.

Maulida is grateful as there are still good people like Lana who help others selflessly in the midst of this difficult time. Now she and all her family members have recovered from COVID-19 and returned to their normal lives.

In Jakarta, a movement, which was initiated by four young people, supplies ready-to-eat food for those undergoing self-isolation.

"So that they can undergo self-isolation quietly and focus on recovery," said 33-yeard-old Sonny Lesmana, one of the initiators.

Lesmana and his friends ordered food from a number of home catering businesses with a complete menu of rice, protein such as chicken, beef, or shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, soupy vegetables, and fruits.

At first, they only delivered the food to patients in the Angke area, West Jakarta city, but later they expanded the delivery to North Jakarta city to meet many more requests.

They sent the food to COVID-19 patients for seven days in a row, for lunch and dinner.

They have been providing the service since July 16, and at least 2,000 portions of food have been received by those in need. Enditem