Three years ago, the 58-year-old Mark D’Souza started changing lives of senior citizens. D’Souza started a free tiffin service for old people
who cannot cook for themselves.
Today, Mark’s tiffin service is more than just food. Angela Fernandes, 98, who lives by herself in Borivali, Mumbai, says she has found a friend in Mark whose free tiffin service keeps her covered.
“I’m not a drag on any of my children as far as money is concerned. I manage with my pension, so I was even prepared to pay.”
She adds, “He doesn’t make you feel like he is giving you free food. He comes so happily. I say to him, ‘you come as if it’s a party’.”
D’Souza, who lost his parents at an early age, manages to somehow feed as many as 40 mouths every day without taking a single penny from them.
He says the tiffin service was ‘just a thought’ and he would not been able to do it without his wife’s support. “She gave me Rs.
5000 from what she had earned from taking tuitions, and said, ‘if you want to do something, start now’,” D’Souza said. So, what’s on the menu?
Mark serves vegetarian food on weekdays and non-vegetarian on weekends.
He explains that a lot of Gujarati senior citizens come to him, so he has to keep them happy, too. Now, the entire D’Souza family is a part of the process; from buying vegetables to cleaning, cooking and packing the tiffin boxes. The expenditure for the same comes to roughly Rs.
15,000 every day. And, not only does D’Souza offer free tiffin service, he also make sure that he personally delivers all the tiffins. Patricia D’Souza, 79, (not related to Mark) who lives all alone and cannot cook, said,
“My husband died, my children died, I’m all alone. Mark’s free service is like a blessing. He comes to the doorstep with such a pleasant smile that it just makes my day. He, through the years, has become my pillar of strength.”
D’Souza, who values letters of gratitude and kind words as his biggest rewards, believes that only when you are old does one realise what old age means and how people feel trapped within the four walls. “When I deliver the tiffins, they say thank you and god bless. The two words have a big meaning,” he said.