The Kochi Municipal Corporation started crowdfunding for COVID-19 related activities when they were unable to start any new projects because of the model code of conduct that was in force due to Assembly Elections in Kerala.
By the time the government allowed fund collection on behalf of the secretary, the civic body had already supplied nearly 50,000 food packets to COVID-affected families.
The Kochi Corporation took a bold step in April when it started a crowdfunding initiative while the election protocols were still in place. The objective was to provide immediate support to families with COVID patients.
Mayor M Anilkumar requested all political parties, religious heads, the business community, NGOs and medical associations to contribute in whatever they can to help the city fight the pandemic.
After his appeal, many offered auditoriums for free, some donated medicines and beds, while others donated money. The mayor said that it was crucial to ensure all COVID patients and those in quarantine were getting food on time.
"It was a confidence-building measure. Once a person realises that he/she is COVID positive, they begin to panic. How will I live, how will I look after my family, who will provide us with medicine and food? A patient begins to think about these things. So, we decided that economically backward patients should be provided with cooked food. For those in quarantine who can afford to buy essentials, volunteers will distribute the same to them. The idea is to keep everyone indoors, without leaving them to starve," the mayor told The New Indian Express.
In the next stage of this initiative, the corporation will arrange ration kits for COVID affected families, where at least one person is well enough to cook.
Till now, four societies have come forward to support the initiative.
Apart from them, the Shipyard Society has agreed to provide food materials up to ₹1 lakh. The Naval Base Credit Service Society has also donated ₹1 lakh.
Naval Base Consumer society will supply goods, and Edappally Service Cooperative Bank 328 has donated cash. Many other organisations and individuals have also promised to support this initiative through cash and goods.
"Now we are confident we can keep this running. We started with no reserve funds. Ernakulam Karayogam gave their kitchen at TDM hall as well as stocked food material when we started. Later, we bought goods on credit. Recently, we got an order from the government that a separate account can be started in the name of the corporation secretary to receive contributions. Those who need an income tax receipt for the donations can get it through Karayogam," added Anil.
After this initiative, social media has come out in appreciation of the mayor who has stepped up to manage a crisis. In his view, during such times, everyone must unite and come forward 'to save lives', keeping everything behind.