An exodus has followed the relaxing of travel restrictions in South Asia as previously stranded migrant workers have set their sights on home. Some have boarded trains or buses, some have hitched a ride or walked, but all were eager. The eagerness has waned, however, as their stomachs began to grumble on the long journey.
Migrant workers have been unable to work for several weeks, and many have not had money to purchase food. But these weary travelers have not gone unnoticed; GFA workers and churches have responded with compassion.
Ministering to Hungry, Weary Travelers
As the large number of migrant workers in the state of Uttar Pradesh return home, they have struggled to obtain food and water. Some of them are traveling with small children.
A GFA church has busily ministered to those needs, distributing more than 2,000 food packets thus far to migrant workers coming from 10 different areas. Grateful men and women have expressed heartfelt thanks.
“We were hungry for many days, but we are thankful to you for feeding us,” they said.
Rachiv, in charge of the transit center, said, “I am so grateful to [the church] for helping the needy people in this time of crisis. The church is really a great blessing to the society.”
In Andhra Pradesh, GFA pastor Maahir and his congregation have ministered to 250 migrant workers as they passed through their village by preparing fresh meals and distributing food packets, face masks and fruit.
Pastor Vadin, with the permission of local authorities, has distributed food at the railway station, bus stand and local market to migrant workers, most of whom had walked many miles. A total of 400 food packets containing veg biriyani (rice dish), egg curry, buttermilk, two water packets and salad have been distributed to the migrant workers as well as street dwellers and others in need.
Forty-three-year-old Jagriti set out to walk 400 kilometers, approximately 250 miles, after being informed there was no work available and facing difficulties finding food and transportation. The church provided shelter for her to rest as well as food to fill her stomach.
“We are so happy. I am thankful to [the church] for providing the food,” Jagriti said. “We did not eat food for two days. I am happy you provided food.”