In a time when inflation-hit green veggies and fruit are disappearing from the platter of the common man, Mohit Shah and his family provide the daily dose of nutrition and vitamins for free to those who can’t afford them. The 54-year-old stands out in the crowd instantly while distributing the costly green component of a healthy diet on busy roads and market places in Ahmedabad. Shah, who lives in Navrangpura, has the dealership of a leading cement company.
The idea of distribution came from his wife Kinnariben, 53, who once witnessed a group of laborers staring at her while she was buying vegetables. During interaction, she came to know that they were deprived of the vegetables as they could not afford them. She gave them the stuff she had bought for the family and discussed the episode with her husband. “My wife shared with me her idea of distributing veggies free to the needy. By God’s grace, we can afford to give some vegetables to the poor for free. We started with 200 kg of vegetables initially which has now reached to 1,500 kg a week,” says Shah whose initiative has turned six this year.
The couple buys vegetables from Jamalpur market and roam in Nehrunagar, Shivranjani, Jivraj Park, Vejalpur, Gujarat University, Thaltej gaam, Vastrapur and Drive-in Road areas for free distribution. On expenditure, the businessman says, “I buy vegetables worth Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 every day and distribute them thrice a week. We used to incur transportation cost. However, when the farmers learnt of our endeavour, they stopped charging us the transportation cost. This helps us buy more vegetables with the same money.” On the day of distribution, Shah reaches Jamalpur market in the wee hours to buy farm fresh veggies from the farmers.
His son Kushal, 24, and daughter Aashka, 21, are equally engaged in the activity. “I want the word to spread as I can’t visit all areas. If other people get inspired by it, we can cover entire Ahmedabad. We never say no to anyone. Our aim is to give vegetables to the poor, but if anyone on road approaches us, we don’t say no,” says Shah who is often seen on the Shivranjini-Helmet Circle stretch distributing the vegetables. As Shah came to know that papad is favourite among the poor, he has started distributing it along with cabbage, bottle gourd, tomato, cauliflower, carrot, radish, sugarcane, sweet lime, grapes and muskmelon.
They now plan to distribute mangoes. Shah donates in charity at least as much as he spends on his family annually. “We do not seek donation from people. Those who wish to distribute can do so in their own way in their own areas,” says Shah. Shah spends about Rs 10 lakh on vegetables and fruit for others while his total donation goes up to Rs 25 lakh annually.
He also helps needy students by paying their fee and buying them books. He often bears medical expenses of the poor and also provide food grain to families which hardly have income. “I want to help people in whatever way I can. The almighty has blessed me by giving me an opportunity to make others’ lives better,” Shah says.
Businessman Mohit Shah distributes free vegetables thrice a week. He does not want others to contribute to his causes, instead he wants other well-to-do to do the same in their areas.