Essar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Essar Group, on Wednesday said it will provide 1.25 million meals to communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and over one lakh medical supplies to frontliners combating the pandemic.

"Essar Foundation is focussed on providing support to the larger community – from supplying PPEs masks, and ventilators to hospitals to providing food to labourers who are finding themselves in a difficult position," said Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital.Coronavirus and HumanityAlso ReadCoronavirus: With lockdown affecting dairy farmers, Mumbai-based Bodhishop is ensuring cows don't suffer

Stating that the Group plans to do a lot more for the community to play its part in being good corporate citizens, he said, "The Essar COVID-19 Relief Fund is committed to supporting various marginalised groups that are truly in need of funding. This includes transgenders, the homeless, daily wage earners, and women with a background of domestic violence. We have reached out to Essar employees and senior leadership to contribute to the fund."

In a statement, the group said Essar Foundation has committed to providing 1.25 million meals to communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It has provided 6.65 lakh meals to communities in need across Maharashtra including frontline doctors, Mumbai police force, slum dwellers, daily wage earners, women with a background of domestic violence, and transgender people.

As many as 20,000 meals per day have been earmarked to the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund routed to marginalised and disadvantaged communities.

Also, it has committed to providing over 100,000 medical supplies to frontliners combating COVID-19. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), N-95, three-ply face masks, and hand sanitisers have been supplied to over 10 government and private hospitals in Mumbai, and over nine police stations across South Mumbai, the statement said.

"Our efforts have been focussed on reaching out to the most vulnerable communities. Being part of the Government of Maharashtra Corona Control CSR Group, we are able to coordinate directly with the state machinery and work jointly with leading groups," said Kaustubh Sonalkar, Group President Human Resource, Essar, and CEO Essar Foundation.

Separately, in an internal message to Essar Group employees, Prashant Ruia said, "For me, the safety of Essarites is paramount; we have always prided ourselves on that count."

"We have set up a monitoring committee with all the senior management of Essar. This committee is now meeting daily through virtual means to address the situation that has arisen out of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a difficult time that many of us have never seen in our lifetimes. However, we have to carry on. Many of our facilities provide essential services so they have to keep operating," he said.

He asked employees to stay safe. "Please follow the rules that are being administered by the government and organisations like WHO. They are being implemented for a reason."

"In India, many people are flouting these rules. But it is incumbent on us that we not only follow the rules ourselves but also urge other people to do the same. These are clearly unprecedented times. But I am really optimistic that the world will soon find a cure," he said.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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