"Serving people is a heartfelt job. Anyone can earn money, but only a few can serve the society," Rakesh Panchal, founder of Visamo Tiffin Seva, reminisces about his late father's profound words. Inspired by his father's wisdom and driven by a desire to give back to the community, Rakesh embarked on a transformative journey to provide nourishment and care to those in need.
Rakesh's journey began during a challenging period when his father fell ill and was hospitalized. As Rakesh remained by his side, he encountered a significant obstacle: ensuring his father received timely and suitable meals. Living far from the hospital, the distance and the need for specialized food became a pressing issue. This experience left a lasting impression on Rakesh's mind, and two days after his father's passing, he decided to honour his last wish by doing something meaningful for others.
‘No one should sleep hungry’"I was less experienced in this new field of serving food to people, so I faced a lot of difficulties," Rakesh recalls. Starting from humble beginnings, he initiated his service by providing meals to a few individuals in a nearby government hospital. Despite the challenges, the sense of fulfillment and happiness he derived from helping others fueled his determination. With time, the demand for his services increased, leading to a rise in daily expenses, which ranged between Rs. 500 to 1000.
However, through the support of compassionate individuals who donated Rs. 50-100, Rakesh and his team established Visamo Tiffin Seva, expanding their reach and serving 30-40 people daily.
"No one should sleep with an empty stomach or think they are alone in this world. They should know that someone is taking care of them," Rakesh emphasizes, highlighting the importance of compassion and the need to alleviate hunger and loneliness.
He respects and cares for them, despite facing multiple hurdles along the way
“I want the people I serve to believe that someone actually cares for them. In addition to providing our beneficiaries food, we also give them shawls and put tilak on their forehead as a mark of respect, once a year. I don't want people to feel that I am doing them a favour, I want their self-respect to be intact" he says.
Along the way, financial constraints, a shortage of manpower, and logistical difficulties threatened the sustainability of Visamo Tiffin Seva. Despite these obstacles, Rakesh remains unwavering in his mission, acknowledging that the help he provides to the needy is a manifestation of divine intervention.
"It is a capital intensive work," Rakesh explains, shedding light on the financial strain his initiative endures. The need for funds to cover expenses such as purchasing ingredients, renting or acquiring vehicles for food transportation, and ensuring timely salaries for employees becomes increasingly demanding. Moreover, fluctuating conditions throughout the seasons add another layer of complexity to their operations. In the face of these challenges, financial assistance becomes imperative to ensure the continuity of their service.
‘We want to feed 1.5 to 2 lakh individuals annually…support us’Amid the obstacles, Visamo Tiffin Seva has made a remarkable impact on the lives of those they serve. Having fed approximately 5 lakh people to date, Rakesh and his team aspire to extend their reach and feed 1.5 to 2 lakh individuals annually. With a goal to serve 22 villages once again and facilitate timely food distribution through the acquisition of 4-5 vehicles, Rakesh envisions doubling their efforts to provide two meals a day to those in need.
In addition to food, Visamo Tiffin Seva extends their support to provide clothing, basic medicines, walkers, and other necessities to individuals who require assistance. Their holistic approach ensures that the beneficiaries not only receive sustenance but also experience a sense of belonging and care within their community.
"If people show their generosity and help us, we will be able to fulfill our wish. By supporting Visamo Tiffin Seva, individuals have the opportunity to become part of a heartwarming initiative that aims to combat hunger, loneliness, and despair, spreading hope and nourishment to those in need." - Rakesh
Together, we can help Rakesh and his team continue their vital work, creating a lasting legacy of compassion and service. Click here to contribute.