In the last two weeks of April, when the national capital was hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, a bunch of managers, IT professionals, doctors, life coaches and homemakers came together to help out the people struggling against the onslaught of an invisible enemy.
Formed as a WhatsApp group of six by Delhi-based Abhijeet Dutta on April 26, 'Team Avengers' claims to have delivered 7,123 meals, over 4,000 dry ration kits, and medical kits across Delhi NCR, Jhansi and Gorakhpur.
"Those two weeks (in April) were very difficult for so many people around us. We were hearing news from relatives, friends, colleagues. And everyone was trying to help in whatever capacity, then we decided to form a common group where we could coordinate," Dutta told PTI.
The small group started growing steadily as did its capacity to help. From six, the team now has 56 members spread across Delhi and the two districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Apart from free home-cooked meals, dry ration kits, medicines and oxygen support, they also provided information on ambulances, isolation centres, and beds in hospitals.
"We would verify and reverify on the patients, also on the resources that we were getting them. We would confirm any leads multiple times regarding vacant beds, oxygen cylinders, and medicines," said the 45-year-old manager in a Gurgaon-based firm.
The team also helped people to get in touch with doctors, medical researchers, life coaches and social workers, who offered online consultation to COVID patients and their families on how to fight the disease and also counseled them in the recovery phase to deal with the post-covid trauma and depression arising out of isolation.
It is also distributing medical kits comprising face masks, hand sanitisers, basic medicines, and vitamins to domestic workers, daily wage laborers and people outside hospitals, slums, railway stations, bus stops, and streets of Delhi NCR, he said.
The group grew bigger as some of the people who had received support from it also started actively helping out as volunteers in the relief activities.
The COVID-support group included people unique in their own right, not unlike the fictional team of superheroes it has been named after.
"Over 90 percent of the team members are working professionals. Some are from IT, some doctors and some life coaches. We even have a retired Army colonel. All of them have expertise in their respective fields," Dutta added.
With strong lockdown guidelines in place, it wouldn't have been easy without the help of the local authorities who welcomed the efforts of the group.
"We never faced any trouble with authorities or police officers. In fact, we even provided meals to traffic police and other policemen on duty," Dutta said.