Surgery of COVID-19 cases in India, including Variant B.1.617, have created a crisis in the country for more than a month. May’s beginning, NBC News reported that India has registered more than 300,000 new cases for the 12th day in a row, which India’s total infections to nearly 20 million.
When Basu Ratnam, a New York City restaurateur and founder of INDAY restaurants, saw oxygen being airlifted to India amid the surging COVID-19 cases in the country, he had a hard time. struggling to cope with the situation and wanted to contribute. way he could. Two and a half weeks ago, he contacted his network of fellow restaurateurs to ask if they would be ready to participate in an initiative, the 1 billion breaths campaign, where all profits would go to the oxygen supply.
âI had a phone with all these Indian restaurateurs that I knew and friends, and everyone wanted to do something, everyone felt like they had to play their part,â Ratnam explained. “We just got rid of the effect of COVID, but we know in our hearts that what happened to us here, there is no comparison to what is happening yet (in India).”
Like many food brands that have joined forces to raise funds for the COVID-19 crisis in India, including increased oxygen intake, Ratnam has brought together 28 restaurants around the world to come together in an effort to raise awareness and donate for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.
Participating restaurants in major centers like New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Chicago and more will initially offer meals between May 23 and May 29 that sell for the same price as a 10 kg supply of oxygen depending on the official campaign website. 1 billion Breaths partner foundations, Oxygen for India and Give India oxygen will receive 100% of the proceeds of these meals, with the goal of raising $ 250,000 during the week.
Jimmy Rizvi, the owner of Gupshup in New York, who will take part in the campaign, spoke to TODAY Food about how the crisis in India has affected her family, including her brother who is in Delhi.
âThe stories I hear from family, friends, the news, it’s just disheartening,â said Rizvi. âAnd there isn’t a lot of medical help available for people. It discourages me. So when Basu contacted me and told me about this initiative, I said, âWell, anything I can do to help. I’m involved in other initiatives here in New York, but it’s always good to give back to your country, give back to your people. “
Gupshup will be doing online deliveries and take-out directly through its website locally and has created a family meal – or âfeastâ as Rizvi calls it – with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option to choose from.
Rizvi hopes that people, even if they are not from the towns where the 28 restaurants are located, will always look for opportunities to contribute by donating directly to the cause through the 1 Billion Breaths website.
Coterie, a restaurant with Indian influences, just opened in Charleston in March, but its owner Jeremy Buck is already looking to make an impact by participating in the 1 Billion Breaths campaign. Buck, who previously ran a beverage program at a restaurant in India, saw how the crisis affected his friends as well as his fiance’s family. He knew he wanted to help, but with his restaurant being so new, he didn’t know how until he stumbled upon the 1 Billion Breaths campaign.
Buck’s Restaurant will be offering a âthali experienceâ priced at $ 86 for two during restaurant hours Monday, May 24 through May 29, including one of its signature cocktails or a non-alcoholic beverage.
Raquel Wolf-Jadeja and her husband, Jay Jadeja, owners of The onion tree and Maa Indian Cuisine, will participate in the campaign next week, donating 10% of their gross income to support the cause. Jadeja, who immigrated to the United States in 2002, told TODAY Food by email that she feels both âsadness and helplessnessâ over what is happening in India.
“Many of those who did not have to die died – not because they were fatally ill – rather because of a lack of basic infrastructure – mainly oxygen,” he explained. . âA nudge and a chat with Basu Ratnam and voila, I find myself partnering with dozens of Indian restaurants around the world, raising funds to help bring much-needed relief and literally help India breathe. am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this campaign. “
Jay Sethi, co-founder of The host host group, and his nephew, Ashish Sethi, the director of food and beverage at The host in Richmond Hill, Ont., have always devoted part of their work to donating to local communities and organizations, so participating in the 1 Billion Breaths campaign was âa givenâ.
âWe are all quite affected by India, we talk about it in our daily conversations and most of our chefs and workers have families at home,â Ashish told TODAY Food. “We knew we had to help somehow, it was just a matter of figuring out how we could have the most impact and make things better.”
The host will be offering a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option for two at $ 87 a box, as well as a box for four at $ 105, with all proceeds from those boxes supporting the cause.
Ashish is happy to see restaurants around the world coming together to support a universal cause and have the opportunity to create lasting impact.
âIt’s really nice to see the people we admire and those who admire us all coming together for something much bigger than what our own restaurant could do on its own,â he explained. âSo it’s really nice to see everyone coming together on a global level and it gives us the feeling, as a small restaurant and a family business, that we could have a pretty lasting and big impact, especially when we come together.
Ratnam hopes the 1 Billion Breaths initiative will help build the infrastructure to create a moment and awareness of the crisis in India and provide support for the continuing needs for a long time.
âI think the insight we’ve created that people – especially the Native American community – want to find a way to stay involved and keep in touch,â Ratnam said. âAnd I think restaurants are built for that, they’re designed to build communities and serve food.â