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A little good goes a long way — especially in a pandemic. As India witnesses an unprecedented rise in Covid-19 cases in a second wave, people from all walks of life are turning good samaritans to help others out in times of distress. People are organizing collectives on social media to help others in whatever way they can. One such shining example is a tea stall owner from Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district who has started a ‘Moi Virundhu’ to help Covid patients in Delhi, which is witnessing a massive surge in cases and also seeing its healthcare infrastructure collapse as patients run pillar to post for basic hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

42-year-old Sivakumar from Pudukkottai, who owns Bhagavan Tea Stall in the Wamban Four Road area near Alangudi in Pudukkottai district, has set up an initiative to raise funds for Covid-19 patients in Delhi. Being a social activist, he had earlier received compliments from various quarters for waiving tea shop loans of up to Rs 15,000 for his customers affected during the ‘Gaja’ cyclone. Seeing the intensity of the second wave and the state of Delhi, he has decided to lend a helping hand.

While Sivakumar himself lacked the funds, he decided to set up a fundraiser in exchange for free tea. Sivakumar has put up a notice in his shop which says that all the proceeds from 6 am to 6 pm would be sent to help people suffering due to Covid. The tea was ‘virundhu’ and it was free. Customers just had to drop whatever amount they wanted to in the huge container at the entrance of his shop.

Sivakumar told News18 that this act of charity had moved his customers, and even though the charge for a cup of tea is a mere 6 rupees, the people donated up to Rs 1,000. In just one day, Sivakumar managed to gather nearly 4 thousand rupees, and it is only going to increase, maybe reaching up to an amount of Rs 10,000 by the end. “Even if I can buy an oxygen cylinder for one person in need, I’ll be happy. I hope to save at least one person from distress through my contribution,” he told The New Indian Express.

Sivakumar said he will hand over the money to the Pudukottai District Collector, Uma Mageswari, and the funds will be sent to Delhi through her. The localities and customers in the area lauded his efforts, and his charitable gesture, that a tea shop owner, despite his economic status, has come up with the idea to donate funds for those suffering from COVID-19.

In 2018, during the Gaja cyclone, Sivakumar put a board in his shop announcing that all the dues of the local farmers in the last eight years up to December 18 were written off by him as it required no permission from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Sivakumar who had then been running the shop for the last eight years, empathised with the cyclone-hit farmers realising that they were unable to repay the dues against the cups and snacks they had been having at his shop for long. To help the distressed farmers in the area to at least some extent, he decided to relieve them by writing off their dues.

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