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Meet Pune’s ‘food warrior’ Aakanksha Sadekar

Preparing and delivering home-cooked meals to the frontline healthcare workers in Pune

Covid-19 has been a trying time, especially for those who have to work amidst a plethora of restrictions and fear. The danger faced by medical students, healthcare workers, and doctors is unsurpassed. Their well-being affects the well-being of others, yet some of them can’t even eat nutritious food every day due to the curfew. 

Because of such a situation, a Pune resident took the initiative of ensuring that people working on the front lines of our fight against coronavirus stay healthy. It all began on April 5 when Aakanksha Sadekar or ‘Scottish ladki’ tweeted, offering home-cooked food for healthcare workers, medical students or doctors living in Pune. In merely two weeks, she had sent close to 1000 tiffins. According to her, this is not a business venture, but just a means to help others. She said that she planned on sending a Dabba to her brother, a medical student, when she came across a tweet of a young doctor who reached home after an extended duty, and all he could eat was Maggi. Her initiative then multiplied, with doctors, ambulance drivers, students and police officers, requesting her to send them food. 

Sadekar said that while the idea of cooking all of a sudden for 80 people on her own was overwhelming, she thought that would be all, but she soon turned out to be wrong. The requests kept increasing, and so did offers for donations and help. She had planned on accepting money only from her friends, but the increasing amounts of proposals make it seem like she will have to accept more donations eventually. Three more girls have joined her in her quest not to let anybody on the frontlines go hungry. They are preparing around 350 dabbas every day. Soon, Sadekar plans on developing a more transparent system to keep track of the donations and what they’re being used for. 

Although various tiffin services are operating in the city, what sets Aakanksha and her group apart is doing this free of charge. She delivers food, and if the location is farther, she sends it by Dunzo. She manages her professional work along with packing and providing around 80 tiffins every day. Sadekar says her phone is always abuzz with requests for food. She says she has had various heart touching experiences in her term as a food samaritan. In a message to others around her, Sadekar said that there could be countless Aakankshas if everybody started helping out one person in their own area. 

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