Surplus foods and unconsumed fresh fruits at households in Cuddalore, a small town 190 km from Chennai, are now being packed and displayed in a 350-litre refrigerator installed by the Rotary Club of Cuddalore Midtown, D 2981, so that hungry people can have easy access to it.
Under its Food for All project, the club has placed the fridge on the premises of the Devi Gas Service on Lawrence Road, a busy place dotted with shops and commercial outlets and surrounded by residential clusters. The club has mobilised ₹31,000 to install the fridge which “we hope is put to active use by those who have excess food, fruits or any other edible items to spare,” says B Murugan, the Club President.
Depending on the effectiveness of the project and “how well the fridge serves the purpose of feeding the hungry and deserving people, we will install five more refrigerators across the town,” he says.
Inaugurating the project, DG Ramesh Babu praised the club members for having conceived such a need-based and innovative project and advised other district clubs to replicate it so that surplus food from homes are redistributed to needy people in the community.
The fridge is open for the needy people throughout the day and the club is studying the pilot initiative to replicate it at a number of locations in Cuddalore as the “project will go a long way in the fight against hunger and malnourishment,” says Murugan.
Tie-up with hotels
In order to scale-up the project and reach out to more beneficiaries, the club is holding talks with 3–4 restaurants and hotels, so that at no point the refrigerators turn empty, says IPP Apparsamy Balasubramanian.
“A few hotel proprietors take the initiative to place fresh food in the fridge which is open for all from 7.30 am to 9.30 pm,” he explains. But the club is taking efforts to create awareness among residents to make full use of the cold storage as they can deliver large quantity of unconsumed food at social events and family occasions, says Balasubramanian.
At present, curd rice and lemon rice are kept in the fridge which is being maintained by the Rotarians. “We will be making Food for All an ongoing project and we are sensitising the residents to place food, that is otherwise going waste, in such fridges, more of which will be put up shortly,” he says.