Indian Honorary Consul General to Liberia, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, commonly known in Liberia as Mr. Jeety, Community Feeding initiative has now reached the 95,000 mark since it was launched 35 days ago. He began the community feeding or “stay home feeding” following the declaration of the State of Emergency and curfew by President George Manneh Weah. Curfew hours which initially ran from 3.pm. to 6.am, but has since been readjusted to commence from 9.pm to 6.am daily.
President Weah had declared the 60-day State of Emergency and curfew to stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
On last Sunday, the Daily Observer joined Mr. Jeety and his crew on an observation tour of the various feeding centers/points around Monrovia. They included Vai Town, where his main offices are located, Center Street in Central Monrovia, Coconut Plantation, Randall Street, Car Wash, Mamba Point, Broad & Johnson Street, Slipway, 24th Street and ‘Zimbabwe’ on the Bishop Michael K. Francis Road in Paynesville.
Mr. Jeety told the Daily Observer that he realized that, as a result of the imposition of a curfew, the shutdown of businesses, etc. as part of the COVID-19 restrictive measures, ordinary Liberians, especially those living on less than US$1 daily would have been hardest hit; accordingly, he decided to intervene by providing at no cost, cooked, ready to eat meals to targeted vulnerable groups including zogos (youth at risk), children and elderly people.
At feeding time, they are required to form orderly queues, observe social distancing measures and must be masked before they are served. Quite often, according to some beneficiaries, Mr. Jeety has distributed face masks to those without during feeding time. The masks are said to be customized and bears his business trademark.
The Indian Honorary Consul General told the Daily Observer that he began this feeding of vulnerable Liberians six years ago. At the time, according to him the feeding cycle was five times weekly and it was done from a single location — at his business center in Vai Town, Bushrod Island. But nowadays, he and his team, including the police, visit more than six different feeding locations daily.
Mr. Jeety, the prominent Indian businessman, has vowed to continue providing food to these Liberians, saying that he sees the aid as a relief to the vulnerable. This is why he increased the number of food distribution sites during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this commendable effort on his part, Mr. Jeety has shunned publicity and turned down a request for an interview, reiterating that he had previously told journalists that Liberia has become his second home and so providing food for “his people” is just a way of giving back and seeking God’s blessings.
Some of those who benefited from the Sunday feeding told Daily Observer that they wait for the arrival of the food just to get a plate of Jeety’s meal because they lack the means to afford themselves a decent meal.
Mercy Dean, one of the underprivileged youths, described Jeety’s food as “Manna from heaven,” to save the lives of those who cannot afford to provide a daily meal for themselves.
“Thank God for sending Jeety to Liberia because, since the outbreak of this Coronavirus, our daily hustle has been very difficult. Before three 3 p.m we have to leave the street and it isn’t possible that we get food to eat during the morning hours,” Mercy said.
She disclosed that during the distribution, special attention is paid to women and children by allotting a special line for them, adding: “We and the children are served first by Mr. Jeety before he begins to serve the men”.