Millions of people in India die of chronic hunger and hunger-related diseases every year. In an attempt to contribute to the society and feed the needy, Minu Pauline, owner of the Pappadavada restaurant, in Kochi, was moved to combat both food waste and hunger after seeing people scavanging waste food from bins.
The fridge – nicknamed 'Nanma Maram' meaning ‘tree of goodness’ – began as a place people in need could pick up excess food from the restaurant.
It has now become a community hub, with people from across town donating to it.
In a selfless and thoughtful gesture, she put a refrigerator out in the street in front of her restaurant, Pappadavada, so that homeless people could access the food. The fridge is open all day and night and people are donating food, as well as regulars at her restaurant. Pauline donates around 75-80 portions of food leftover from the restaurant to the fridge each day.
Ms Pauline, was inspired to install the fridge after seeing a woman searcing her rubbish bags for food late one night.
“It was very sad,” she said, “Just imagine being in the situation where you should be asleep but you feel too hungry and you have to go out to find food.”
At the same time, she realised how much food is wasted by society, including in her own restaurant.
“Money is yours but resources belong to society,” Ms Pauline said.
“If you’re wasting your money, it’s your money, but you’re wasting the society’s resources. Don’t waste the resource, don’t waste the food.”
She came to a resolution to do something and hit upon the simple idea of installing a fridge and encouraging her customers to put in it whatever they didn’t eat.
The fridge is left unlocked and unsupervised for 24 hours a day, and anyone who needs to can utilise it.
It feeds dozens of people every night.