Raw materials of food, including oil, rice and rava, are being delivered to the students’ homes.

COVID-19 Anganwadis shut Kerala govt home delivers mid-day meal supplies to kidsPhoto by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair
Coronavirus Governance Friday, March 13, 2020 - 17:13

In a gesture of goodwill, the Kerala government has started measures to deliver ingredients for mid-day meals to over three lakh children studying in anganwadis, which have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to ensure the undisrupted supply of meals to the students.

Since Tuesday, schools, colleges, educational institutions and anganwadis have been shuttered. Exams are being conducted for students in high school.

The decision to continue mid-day meals for anganwadi children has come as a relief to many.

“In the wake of COVID-19 in the state, distribution of Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) including the mid-day meals, for anganwadis under Women and Child Development Department, has already started. About 3.7 lakh students in 33,115 anganwadis in the state will benefit out of the initiative,” Minister for Health and Social Justice KK Shailaja said in a Facebook post on Thursday.


Anganwadi teachers in Thiruvananthapuram's Punnapuram preparing food kits and delivering to children
(Photos by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair)

According to officials of Women and Child Development Department, the food for the children will be delivered as raw materials to the families.

“Since it will be impractical to deliver cooked food every day to the children, we are distributing the raw materials required to make the mid-day meals and other snacks given to kids during the day while they were in anganwadis. For now, we are delivering such food items necessary for 10 days. Before the end of this period, materials required for the next 10 days will be packed and delivered,” said Jayalekshmy P, Child Development Project Officer in Thiruvananthapuram.

The materials are being packed and distributed by the anganwadi teachers themselves.


Teachers of anganwadi at Punnapuram in Thiruvananthapuram
(Photo by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair)

Though the items delivered by each anganwadi will differ depending on the local body, they all generally constituent the staples for the meal: 60 grams of rava, 10 grams of peanuts and 5 grams of oil for upma, and 60 grams of rice and 15 grams of pulses for the mid-day meal. Though a vegetable curry was also prepared in the anganwadis, this will not be included in the list as the vegetables would go bad after some days.

On Tuesday and Friday, children in anganwadis are also given payasam. The raw materials needed for that are also distributed, including 60 grams of rava, 10 grams of peanuts and 30 grams of jaggery.


Preparing food kits to distribute
(Photo by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair)

Anganwadis across the state educate children between the ages of 3 and 6. Apart from this, healthy dietary supplements are also provided in the state to three lakh pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, along with two lakh adolescent girls and 4.75 lakhs children below the age of three. These are normally delivered to the homes of the beneficiaries.


Anganwadi teacher distributing food kit in Kochi
(Photo by Arun Chandra Bose)

Notably, the Kerala government had also started to home deliver groceries to suspected COVID-19 patients who have been quarantined in Pathanamthitta district. Pathanamthitta district, where nine people are reported to have been infected, has the highest number of people under home quarantine. As of Thursday, 862 people are under home quarantine in the district.

Many have applauded the state government’s concern and efforts to help the anganwadi children amidst the fight against COVID-19 in the state.  

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