Mars pledges £1.62m for Covid relief in India

A man checks an oxygen cylinder inside a bus converted into a mobile centre for Covid-19 coronavirus patients in Kolkata on May 31, 2021. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Global petcare, food and confectionery major Mars on Wednesday pledged critical medical equipment worth $2.3 million (£1.62m; Rs 167m) for India, as part of its ongoing efforts towards Covid-19 relief in the country.

Mars is providing 404 oxygen concentrators for patients in hospitals as well as home quarantine, 200 oxygen masks and 200 oxygen central pipeline flow meters, transportation from villages to medical or quarantine centres, food rations, and other necessary, life-saving support , the company said in a statement.

The initiative is being carried out in partnership with international organisations such as Oxfam, CARE and Business Fights Poverty – Crown Agents along with local NGO, Sankalp Beautiful World, the company said.

Commenting on the development, Mars Wrigley, India General Manager Kalpesh R Parmar said: “The past few months have been difficult and times like these, require us to step up and support one another. Mars has always been committed to India and the health and well-being of our communities is our priority.”

Out of the total $2.3 million, the company said the Mars Wrigley Foundation has awarded $300,000 to Save the Children, who in addition to medical equipment and support, will provide broader healthcare services for families and children.

The Tasty Bite Foundation, a non-profit organization of Tasty Bite Eatables Ltd, a Mars group entity, has also donated approximately $82,000 to create two healthcare centres with 160 beds each for affected patients and has equipped two hospitals with life-saving equipment and medicines in Maharashtra, the statement said.

Besides initiatives for the community, Mars said it has already rolled out a series of comprehensive health and well-being initiatives for its associates, contracted workers and people who support the business in India. These include corporate vaccination sponsorship for over 6,000 associates, contractors and their family members.

Mars said there are over 1,000 associates across Mars Wrigley, Mars Petcare, Mars Food and Royal Canin in India.