SEATTLE, Washington — As the effects of the novel coronavirus lessen in some countries and regions, they continue to grow in others. COVID-19 in India has grown dramatically from the end of June to July, with 45,599 new cases reported on July 22 alone. The surge in cases combined with known gaps in the Indian healthcare system is draining the nation of resources and leaving large populations unable to guarantee their most basic needs. CARE India and the Coca-Cola Foundation recognized India’s crisis and partnered to fill those needs for India’s vulnerable communities.
Battling Food Insecurity
CARE India is a subset of the larger CARE network, a nonprofit organization focused on fighting poverty and globally implementing social justice. The group focuses on providing food and nutrition in India, a resource threatened by the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
One of the most pressing issues currently facing underprivileged families in India is food insecurity. To combat this, CARE India and the Coca-Cola Foundation distributed nutritional dry-ration kits across regions. The partnership’s outreach efforts targeted those most impacted by the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. This included those with HIV/AIDS, migrant workers and those who earn a daily wage. While humanitarian organizations are currently aiding these vulnerable groups, many Indians continue to suffer from food and financial insecurity.
CARE India and the Coca-Cola Foundation’s Program
The program, anticipated to roll out over the course of three months, started in June of 2020. It is expected that 1.5 lakh Indians, or 150,000 people, will directly benefit from the nutritional packages. These kits have been carefully curated to anticipate the most pressing nutritional needs of the targeted beneficiaries. The packages include various grains, cooking oil and spices, protein powder, milk powder and soap, among other essential tools. The partnership’s program will operate in the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal regions.
CEO of Care India Manoj Gopalakrishna drew attention to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 lockdown in India on the already marginalized communities. “In these difficult times, we need to ensure that they have access to high-quality, nutritious food to overcome the challenges posed by this pandemic. With the support of Coca-Cola, we hope to make a difference to the vulnerable and marginalized,” said Gopalakrishna in a CARE India report.
While lockdowns are essential to managing the effects of COVID-19 worldwide, governments need to address the socio-economic consequences as they disproportionately affect vulnerable communities.
Humanitarian Efforts in India
The Coca-Cola Foundation launched this partnership program with a $1.5 million in funding to various relief efforts in India. Moreover, the foundation has several humanitarian investments in India, mainly in water sustainability and solar energy. This project is a departure from its often gradual infrastructural projects as the company took on India’s pressing socio-economic crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The efforts of the Coca-Cola Foundation and CARE India represent humanitarian organizations’ immediate relief actions during a time so globally debilitating. While COVID-19 may weaken communities, NGOs and humanitarian efforts can make an impact that ushers countries through seemingly impossible times.