Charity’s year of front line action

A charity has marked a year since it launched an action campaign to help people during lockdown – even winning Royal support along the way.

Deepak Pathak has seen Sewa Day grow as a national charity as it marks one year since the inception of its Help a Neighbour project
Deepak Pathak has seen Sewa Day grow as a national charity as it marks one year since the inception of its Help a Neighbour project

Sewa Day started its Help a Neighbour project to recruit volunteers to help vulnerable people in their communities at the start of the pandemic.

And since its launch on March 13, it has served more than 1.5 million meals, provided supplies for more than 80 food banks and more than 70 hospitals, as well as sourcing thousands of items of PPE.

Sewa Day global lead Deepak Pathak said: “I launched the campaign by simply putting a message on our social channels and the response was incredible.

"Within 24 hours, we had over 1,700 volunteers put up their hands and come forward to help. It was start of something very meaningful where we wanted to help the entire nation regardless of colour, religion, age or any other differential.”

Mr Pathak said he had spoken with a number of food banks and found that donations had dropped by 50 percent due to Covid.

He began working with volunteers to create regional teams, with 42 formed across the country, going out as far as Aberdeen and Portsmouth, and across Wales, with the West Midlands teams based in Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall and Telford.

He said: “After a few bags became a carload of donations, we started to approach companies and say that if they had stock they didn’t need, we would like to have it.

“It saw companies such as Costa and McDonald’s give us food such as buns and burgers and saw us, at one point, with about 20,000 burgers that we could donate to food banks.”

The work even caught the attention of Sarah, Duchess of York, who has twice donated truck loads of food to Sewa Day.

He said: “As well as that, we have craft groups who make 1,000 items of PPE for hospitals and I still find it incredible that the Dduchess of York knows our name and has delivered for us.

"It’s upsetting in a way that we are still doing this a year later, but I am proud that we’re still going strong a year on."

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