Just before a lockdown order was issued in India in late March, Gaurav Singh traveled from his home in Hyderabad — where he works as an algorithm characterization engineer in Micron’s Media Architecture Group — to be with his parents and family in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta.
That wasn’t a small move: Kolkata is about 930 miles away, in eastern India.
Because Micron is always planning and looking ahead, Singh was able to get to his family before the country banned all domestic and international travel. India’s lockdown has been extended to May 18.
The lockdown hasn’t prevented Singh from reaching out to those who might need help, particularly older people who are at highest risk of severe illness and death if they get COVID 19.
On March 26, he posted this message on his social media accounts:
“Hi, if anyone happens to know any elderly people living alone in these tough times and cannot/should not go out to buy the required meds/food supplies, please connect them to me, or vice versa. I will try my bit to order the supplies for them. Also, and I am not sure how much of this would be possible, but if they are presently living anywhere near me right now, I will try to deliver it to them as well. My postal code: 700008.”
About 150 people saw the post, and many of them shared it. One friend recommended a neighbor couple in their late 60s whose grown children are living abroad.
Singh connected with the husband, a retiree, and learned they have a smartphone that they use only to do video calls with their son.
“He had never ordered food or medicine online and was completely unaware about such apps,” Singh said.
The man had been going out daily for food and supplies. Masks and hand sanitizer were unavailable, so he had no protection from the virus.
“It took me some time to make a friendly bond with them, and they were very reluctant to take any help from me. But I was successful in explaining to them how dangerous it was to go out at these times and explained to him the seriousness of the situation and how the virus spreads,” Singh said.
Singh ordered vegetable and grains for them via the bigbasket mobile app and also placed an order for masks and sanitizer from Apollo Pharmacy. They were delivered in just a couple days.
“He was very happy and has invited me for lunch once we have won against this pandemic,” said Singh, who helped the man install online food delivery apps.
Singh also helped another older couple who live in his family’s neighborhood.
“Whenever I am ordering food supplies for my house, I always check up with them, to see if they need anything, and place an order for them as well whenever needed,” he said. “Whenever I go to buy milk and bread, I make sure I pass by their house once and check if they are in need of any of the day-to-day stuff. This way, I am trying my bit to make sure they are safely inside their homes and are only going out when it’s utmost necessary.”
Knowing his reach is very limited, Singh decided to start an initiative to help the elderly through Micron's charitable giving program. Other Micron employees have been able to contribute to or volunteer for the initiative as well.
“This way the force is multiplied and together we can save a lot of elderly people from getting exposed to this virus and maybe in turn save a lot of lives too,” he said.
“A lot of people have started volunteering for this program,” Singh said in a Zoom interview with Martina Trucco, vice president and global head of Corporate Marketing and Corporate Communications. “We are creating an impact.”
The "Heart of Micron" story series shares human stories about Micron team members helping others and benefiting their communities.