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We came. We ran. Now what?

It feels strange to be living and breathing in these unprecedented times. It feels strange to be in New Zealand for the foreseeable future, as we hear news of how deeply this crisis is impacting our employees, our neighbours, and all of India.

We felt powerless. And to be honest, we are reasonably powerless.

Even so, we wanted to act in a small way, to support the marginalized of the Red-Light Areas of Kolkata. We thought that you might want to help too. They may be isolated, but they are not forgotten. We bear witness to the hunger and injustices they face.

So we created the virtual 5km event ‘Run 5km for Loyal’. Your response was absolutely staggering!

491 people walked or ran the 5km. 161 people donated. Together we raised NZD$30,836.

Thank you for joining hands with us, as we stand in solidarity with these precious people. You have buoyed us up and galvanized us to action.

 How are we going to spend your donations? We are humbled that you have entrusted us with this task and now we aim to provide 100% transparency to you, our loyal supporters. 

As this crisis will have a long-term impact, we hope these funds will provide at least one year of support to help our community get back on its feet. This is just our first step.

 Step One: Employees distributing dry rations. Cost: NZ$5277

While the workshop is closed, we can pay our employees at 100%, which is great! But right now they are almost the only people in their communities earning an income. Government aid is not reaching the Red-Light Areas. Our employees are concerned about their neighbours starving.

We wanted to put the power in our employee’s hands, to help their neighbours. Why? Because they care and they know who needs help the most.

Here is how the neighbourhood pay it forward food ration scheme works:

1. Any Loyal employee who chooses, can sign up to distribute dry rations in their neighborhood, by forming a community of 3 with their neighbours.

2. These 3 committee members receive a ration pack each, plus 6 more ration packs.

3. They then decide together, ‘which other 3 families in our neighbourhood needs food most right now?’ Then they deliver to those 3 families.

4. Then together all 6 families decide who the next 3 ration packs go to.

5. If the employee wishes, they can apply for another 9 ration packs and start this process again.

 This method distributes the responsibility, the decision-making and the power into the hands of the community. When neighbours help each other, everyone wins.

As a start, we have ordered 150 ration packs. Each pack contains 10kg of rice, 5kg of flour, 3kg of lentils, 3 litres of cooking oil, 1kg of salt, 2kg of sugar, 1kg of soya bean chunks and a packet of chilli and turmeric powder. The cost per parcel is NZ $35.

We are thankful to be partnering with World Vision India for this project.

For more details on this, feel free to email me at sarah@theloyalworkshop.com

 From the bottom of my heart, thank-you for being a beautiful and essential part of our Loyal team. I appreciate you.

Kia kaha (stay strong),

Sarah