By Jonathan Makama
The Covid-19 have indeed put a lot of locks in homes as commercial activities in the country have been on hold. This has resulted to having more people to fend with little the little available resources. Some residents of Jos, Plateau State, have to go to the farms in their back yards while some go out only once a weekly to restock their foodstuffs when the lockdowns are relaxed.
This have generated a lot of concerns for government, philanthropies and Civil Societies Organizations to provide some sort of palliatives to cushion the effects of covid-19 lockdown, the state Government have reached out to constituencies but there is need to do more.
Christine Ishanpepe is the initiator of the “covid-19 Food Drive” and Executive Director at Thinking Cap Literacy Initiative, a non-governmental organization working to improve literacy among children through creative methods in Jos, Plateau State.
She says her organization is raising money through the covid-19 food drive to support the poorest of the poor in some communities. “We are trying to curb the issue of hunger especially during the lockdown. So, after I returned from Yola for the shutdown, God impressed strongly on my heart to do something for families who do not have food to eat in this trying time. You see, a lot of people are dependent on daily pay, some are merchants in markets…their shops are closed, some are students and people living with disability”.
In raising money to support the covid-19 food drive, Ishanpepe put out announcements on social media platforms for people who have interest to be a part of the food drive to sign-up. With they sign ups, she put up a team of passionate workers to that will help achieve the aims and goal of the covid-19 food drive.
She said “since then, we have stuck together, one thing we have striven for is to be transparent and accountable to each other, we hold meetings constantly, fellowship together, and stay focused. It has been an amazing experience working with colleagues and I am learning so much about leading and serving”.
The relief materials distributed included but not limited to rice, beans, garri, corn flour, groundnut oil, onions, salt, seasoning cubes, tomato paste. The beneficiaries of the relief materials were widows, single mothers, the elderly, student, youth corps members, people living with disability and those who depend on daily income from Shen, Angwan Rukuba, Zawan, Terminus, Gada Biu Satellite Market, Busa Buji, Millionaires’ Quarters, Gold and Base, Rayfield, Old Aiport, Low Cost, Abbattoir, Lamingo, Bauchi Ring Road, Rikkos, Furaka, Masalachin Juma’a, Heipang, Miango, Hwolshe, Federal Secretariat, Mangu, Barkin Ladi, Zarmaganda, Jenta, Bukuru.
Ishanpepe said her team takes time out to interact with beneficiaries to encourage them to be forbearing with the lockdown during distributions.
The intervention is only for the period of the lockdown. When things go back to a fairly normal state, we will wrap up the project. Right now, we are fundraising for phase 6 of the project in a bid to sustain the food drive, she added.
With this intervention, Thinking Cap Literacy Initiative have demonstrated the power of social media for social good; in the first 5 days of the project, they made half a million naira, sort out food requests, packaged and deliver 178 food packages to 178 families.