Every year, consumers in highly industrialized countries waste almost the same amount of food produced in less developed countries. Evidently, while a lot of people have more than enough to eat, there are also a great number of people who have nothing. It is without a doubt a big problem that needs to be solved.
In order to help the people who are in need of food and at the same time manage food waste, a restaurant in Kochi, India came up with a brilliant idea. Pappadavada recently placed a community fridge in Kaloor-Katrikadavu Road, near the Kaloor bus stand.
Minu Pauline, owner of Pappadavada was greatly disheartened when she saw a homeless woman eating from a trashcan. And so she thought she had to do something to somehow help. Being a restaurant owner, she knew how much leftover food they were throwing out every day.
The community fridge was launched in March 2016 and is now feeding a lot of homeless. Pauline explained that although she cannot provide the homeless with prepared dishes from the restaurant, she promised that there would always be something inside the fridge for the needy.
The community fridge was named Nanma Maram, which means “virtue tree” or “the tree of goodness”. Pauline said during one of her interviews, that anyone can leave whatever leftover food they have at home so that they can help serve the hungry instead of just throwing the food away.
Pauline’s idea is quite simple: to prevent food from going to waste by giving it away to those in need. Pauline encourages people to join her in their advocacy. The fridge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available to anyone in need. It receives food donations from restaurants nearby and Pauline encourages party planners, restaurant managers and event organizers to donate food so they can feed more people in need.
The cost needed to cover for the expenses to run the 420L fridge is sustained by the restaurant. They also installed a CCTV for nighttime security. Although they are receiving a lot of donations, Pappadavada is still committed to placing 50 food packages every day.
The people behind the community fridge are requesting people to label the food packages with the date it was prepared or cooked so they can remove spoiled food immediately. Pappadavada cleans the fridge twice a week to ensure that the homeless who will consume these foods are getting meals that are safe to eat.
Mina Pauline, who used to be a banker, hopes their efforts will encourage people to share what they have with the needy. While Pauline knows that her initiatives will not solve the problem of hunger, she wishes to trigger a powerful wave of enthusiastic volunteerism and sharing.
Her original restaurant which is located on M.G. Road opened in January 2014. They immediately gained popularity because of their delicious food offered at a very affordable price. Their menu mainly focuses on local cuisine.
When she was asked about the possibility of non-needy person taking food from the fridge, her respond was very hopeful. She responded, “I’ll just put my faith in the goodness of the folks.”
Pauline never thought that her dreams of making a difference would happen when she quit her bank job. Initially, she just wanted to serve people great food at a great value. She did not expect that this was just the start of making her dreams possible.
Pauline hopes that the global problem of world hunger can be solved. She acknowledged that in spite of her initiative, there are people who think she is promoting the homeless cause to make money. That is why she discourages people from buying food from her restaurant to place inside the fridge.