Pune Auto Driver Akshay Kothawale Used His Wedding Savings To Feed Needy During COVID Pandemic

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Healthcare Heroes Awards 2022: Pune Auto Driver Akshay Kothawale Used His Wedding Savings To Feed Needy During

Who: Akshay Sanjay Kothawale

Category: Poshan Warrior

What: Fed people stuck during the COVID-induced lockdown using the savings he made for his wedding

Why: For feeding those in need who were stuck during the COVID-induced lockdown

An auto driver with limited means, Akshay Kothawale had saved Rs 2 lakh for his wedding, but when he saw people suffering during the nationwide lockdown in 2020, he decided to feed them as he would have fed his relatives and friends at his wedding. Akshay distributed food packets to several workers during the first and the second COVID waves. He also started a community kitchen near his home to feed many more . Not just that, as the means of transportation were limited during the lockdown, he ferried pregnant women and the elderly, in his auto, to the hospital free of cost.

For his work to aid those distressed during the COVID-induced lockdown, Onlymyhealth nominates Akshay Sanjay Kothawale for our Healthcare Heroes Awards 2021. He is nominated in the ‘Poshan Warrior’ category. This is his story:

Akshay Kothawale

‘Did Social Work In The Past’

Not only during the COVID pandemic, but Akshay also did social work in the past. While speaking to Onlymyhealth, Akshay told us, “During the 2019 floods in Sangli district, I distributed food packets in three villages.”. In an attempt to reach out to those who needed help, Akshay put posters of his mission to feed on his auto.

Also Read: Healthcare Heroes Awards: Pregnant DSP Shilpa Sahu Braves Scorching Heat To Ensure COVID Norms

He distributed food packets to the daily wage workers living on footpaths and in slums. “The nationwide lockdown (March 2020) was announced abruptly and these people didn’t have money,” Akshay said, highlighting the plight of most of the workers in Pune’s central region, where he lives. He also spoke about the mental distress they faced, concerned over what would happen in the future. In a word, he described the workers’ condition, who lived in slums and on the footpaths, as “dangerous.”

Akshay Kothawale auto driver

Hence, to extend a helping hand, he started distributing food packets, which he did continuously for over five months during the first COVID wave and two months during the second. 

Used Money Saved Up For The Wedding

To pay for the food packets, Akshay spent Rs 2 lakh that he had saved for his wedding. “The wedding could wait, but these people were in dire need of help, so I saw it as feeding the relatives and guests at my wedding,” he told Onlymyhealth. To help people with food, Akshay also started a community kitchen at home, and it was truly a community’s initiative as everyone, from Akshay’s mother and aunts and other relatives to his friends and neighbours, everyone pitched in. Some washed dishes, others cut vegetables, and some made the packets. Some of them even pitched in to help financially. “In a day, we made 400-500 packets,” Akshay said, in which those who contributed in the preparation also took some food home. It was in a way a price for all the hard work they put in.

Also Read: HealthCare Heroes Awards 2022: A Determined Adivasi Girl Gets Her Village Vaccinated

Akshay Kothawale

Other than the food, Akshay helped people with transportation, too. As the movement was largely curtailed during the first and second waves, he ferried pregnant women and elderlies for free to hospitals. As India is amid a third COVID wave, he plans to repeat what he did during the first and the second waves. “We had distributed food packets a few weeks back,” he said.

Now coming to the question you might have. Did Akshay get married? “Yes, I got married in January last year and have a one-month-old daughter,” he said.

For his sheer dedication to helping those in need during the COVID pandemic, we give a big shoutout to Akshay Sanjay Kothawale. If you also want his work to be recognised, then don’t miss out on this opportunity and vote for him.

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