We have all heard of money banks, blood banks, eye banks and so forth – each serve a purpose that is beneficial to society in some way or the other. There’s one other bank that dares to address an issue very few would go on to tackle. Meet BhaatBank, an organisation that distributes packets of meals to anyone in need, particularly those in Mohammadpur, Dhaka.
Not just a handout
We all know that the cause of hunger is not the shortage of food but the access to it. Keeping that in mind, Hasnain Syed and Ayesha Ahsan kickstarted their idea to bring food to those in need, forming BhaatBank in late 2016. The “bank” collects monitory or non-perishable food items (rice, lentils etc) in donations and prepares fresh meals before they are packed and distributed to whoever is in need.
It is pertinent to note that this is not a mere hand out. BhaatBank simply want to help those who are unable to provide for themselves and their families by providing a proper square meal, which they deserve after a hard day of labour. It is only a little effort to help the needy. BhaatBank aims to end hunger one neighbourhood at time.
It all started with two friends in the US and two other friends in Bangladesh, who decided to serve as many people as they can with the little funding that they began with. However, BhaatBank now has over 60 full time volunteers and serves 1,200 free meals a month from just one donation center in Mohammadpur, and is now planning to open another in November 2017.
The reward is on their faces
BhaatBank’s services are not limited to the city, and they do engage in activities other than serving food to the needy from the donation center in the city. During the recent flood crisis in the north, BhaatBank and its volunteers reached out to flood victims in Sirajganj and provided 250 families with care packages consisting of one week worth of food and medicine supplies.
An African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child” which is relatable because no one organisation can solve the issue of hunger alone. BhaatBank has two long term goals; first, to help the underprivileged and secondly, to inspire others to do the same.
BhaatBank plans to set up locations around the entire city and inspire others to open and organise similar services in their cities and neighbourhoods. If you’re thinking about reward, you’ll see it on the faces of those you help. The people behind BhaatBank ask everyone to remember the famous quote by Albert Pike, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
BhaatBank wishes that there comes a time when no one in our city will sleep hungry.