KARACHI - The alarming increase in the number of people, seeking charitable food, portrays the bleak picture of the devastating economic downturn and its far-reaching repercussion on the common man. The awesome unemployment and low wages are boosting up this scenario and driving more people to seek at least one time free meal from charitable organizations to survive. A survey conducted by The Nation on Wednesday, reveals that according to a conservative estimate about 0.5 million people depend on different welfare organizations for their daily food needs. Prominent organizations which are providing free food in the city are include Sailani Welfare Trust, Alamgir Welfare Trust and Edhi Welfare Trust. Moreover, a large number of people also get their daily food from various Shrines of Sufi saints, mosques and other place where people, individually offer meal to the destitute and needy people. These organisations provide free food to poor people in different ways while some of the organizations feed people in the old houses and orphanages. Similarly some newly established organisation are offering free food by introducing stalls in various city areas like hospitals, courts and other public places. The stalls and mobile services of charitable organizations can be seen in different areas of the city including the main thoroughfares of Old Numaish area, Golimar Chowrangi, Ghani Chowrangi in SITE area, Gulshan Chowrangi in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and at Shaheed Millat Road. The city hospitals including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Civil Hospital, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and other healthcare centres, where poor people usually visit for healthcare services are the prominent points where hundreds of thousands patients and visitors are getting free food on a daily basis. A security guard who is working with a local private company and earns merely Rs7, 000 a month usually takes his meal from the Sailani Welfare Trust, when he was asked, said that the unbearable inflation had driven him to get food from the trust. It is quite impossible for me to have food out of my own pocket because the meagre earning has left me with the sole choice - either to enjoy meal at my own and let my children back home starve or to remain hungry myself and let the children take food, he told. He also informed that he had five children, living back at home in Khyber PakhtunKhwa for whom he had to send 90 percent of his income. Therefore I happily take the benefit of free food from the welfare organizations, he added. Another man who has masters degree and works as computer operator at a local organization to earn Rs8,000 per month for eight hours job, told The Nation at JPMC that the medicines and other expenses at the government hospital had forced him to get free food from Sailani. He said that he availed himself this opportunity because of poverty. The humanitarian way of serving food also inspires me because the staff of the trust serves food with honour and allow eating as much as one can, he said. The presence of these organisations is not less than a blessing for the poor because the current economic downturn and subsequent skyrocketing price-hike have compelled people to prefer suicide, he maintained. Talking to this scribe, Sailani Welfare Trust Administrator Syed Tahir Ali said that it was well-to-do people who reposed confidence in his organisation by donating money to feed those who needed the most. He pointed out that his organisation had established and maintained 53 points across the city where thousand of people enjoy good square meal in a very respectful manner. He said that the free food points of the Sailani Welfare Trust were most frequented by people from the lower-middle class, street children and those who came from the up country and earned merely a dollar a day. Edhi Welfare Trust Chief Administrator Anwar Kazmi described the situation as the failure of the government. The skyrocketing inflation has broken the backbone of the common man and has pushed the society into a chaos, he maintained, adding that by instinct, nobody wished to beg any thing, especially the food because it bruised ones ego and dignity. He said that the Edhi Welfare Trust had set up and maintained six points in different areas of Karachi and more than 50 across the country wherein millions of poor people were provided with free food. In such a worst scenario, the common man pose a question that those fixing the minimum wages at Rs6,000 to 7,000 can explain or define the dilemma as to how majority of people could survive where millions of people are doing lowest jobs and earn merely Rs3,000 to 4,000 a month.