BPP To The Rescue!

The Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s timely initiative of installing a ‘DIRECT HELP LINE’, launched on 29th March, 2020, aimed at helping all Community members in need during the ongoing lockdown, has indeed proven very helpful to all in general, and our seniors, in particular. The global lockdown, imposed by most nations to contain the spread of the vicious COVID-19 Pandemic, which has claimed over 1,00,000 lives (as of 11th April, 2020) worldwide, has been as challenging to our community members, but especially hard-hitting on our seniors. And it’s even worse for the sizeable chunk of seniors who do not reside in baugs/colonies and live by themselves, as they are left helpless, unable to manage going about their daily lives, with the sudden cut-off of their ‘support system’ – like the domestic help, tiffin-services and public transport – for their daily sustenance.

Responding to this call of distress, the BPP installed DEDICATED HELP LINE for community members to reach out for help/assistance on any issues they faced during the Lockdown, or for emergencies. “We will try to resolve issues regarding lack of food supplies/groceries, etc. as well as cater to medical needs / emergencies by connecting the elderly or incapacitated with doctors and GPs nearby and provide ambulance services,” read BPP’s statement. And, living up to its promise, the BPP’s Direct Help Line has brought in much relief to community members dealing with issues including the unavailability of groceries and other consumables/ non-consumable essentials; Medical requirements; and other difficulties which were posing serious challenges to the functioning of their everyday lives.

Parsi Times caught with the ‘First Responders’ of the Direct Help Line – Jimmy Merchant and Ronny F. Patel – who have been diligently ensuring that every call they receive from community members is answered, and all relevant queries / requirements are resolved. Both are employed with the BPP – while Jimmy Merchant has served for over a decade in the Estate Department, his colleague, Ronny Patel, a Senior Executive with the Housing Department, has served the apex institution for over twenty years.

As per the first-hand data collected and collated by Jimmy Merchant and Ronny Patel, not surprisingly, the majority of calls received are from seniors, most of who are living on their own or with another senior partner, outside of the Baugs, in old Parsi buildings or other cosmopolitan buildings.

Speaking with Parsi Times, First Responder of the Direct Help Line, Jimmy Merchant, shares, “Initially when we started off, we had to further streamline systems, as we received a deluge of calls the moment we shared the news of the Direct Help Lines. But within a day or two, everything was in place, and we have been able to serve our community members with precision and pride! We have a good database of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, who are always ready and ever-willing to serve the community – they are doing a great job of reaching as well as supplying essentials to community members. We also run a proper feedback system – where we call back the beneficiaries to confirm if their needs have been adequately resolved.

The larger number of calls have been for the supply of groceries as well as cooked meals. While some Community members are able to afford paying for groceries and meals, a few are provided the same gratis, in keeping with their financial predicament. A number of seniors have also received their requirements of medicines and adult diapers, after calling the Direct Help Line with their needs. In addition to this, the BPP is also providing monetary assistance for the destitute who are unable to avail their weekly/monthly monetary doles.

The BPP Direct Help Line works with one main group of volunteers, who are spread across various Baugs and Colonies through the city and include caterers; people who help with delivery of groceries, meals, medication, etc; home-food providers; grocery providers; healthcare professionals, donors, etc. When community members call the Direct Help Line numbers, the First Responders note the needs of callers and share the specific requirements with the volunteers, who magnanimously rise to the occasion and do their bit for the Community members in need.

“This is a brilliant initiative by the Trustees! We receive calls from people who are in a bad place due to the lockdown. We are truly earning the blessings of the Community and the seniors by providing them with relief. It’s good to stay busy during the lockdown and make a difference in the lives of those in need during the Pandemic. This sense of Community service is fulfilling, we are happy and proud to be part of a venture which truly delivers the aim of the BPP – coming to the aid of the Community. I cannot enough emphasize the gratitude we feel for our volunteers who are bravely and dedicatedly working for the Community,” adds Ronny Patel.


Parsi Times’ Khushnuma Naterwala got in touch with a couple of the beneficiaries of the BPP Direct Help Line….




The Community’s whole-hearted thanks is warranted for the timely help, vision and excellent leadership of BPP Trustees for providing this crucial and much-appreciated initiative; to our First Responders of the Direct Help Line, Jimmy Merchant and Ronny Patel, who tirelessly and uncomplaining answer and return each and every call received and ensure that these are meticulously resolved; to all those working for this venture behind-the-scenes at the BPP, with a special mention to the dynamic Deputy CEO, Shehnaaz Khambatta, for ensuring smooth coordination and timely delivery of all support and services; and a special thundering round of applause to all the volunteers for their precious and invaluable services and contributions – in terms of time, efforts, material goods; as also to the donors for the much-needed, monetary help, to help sustain this noble and crucial community venture.

About Inputs by Khushnuma Naterwala

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