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Thursday, July 28, 2016

How Home-Cooked Nutritious Food Is Reaching Homeless People in Chennai


This food drive is not about getting rid of your leftovers. It‘s about cooking specially for someone you don’t know. The joy you will get is its own reward.

When cooking at home for your family or yourself, cook some extra food that can serve a few people, pack it neatly, and wait. After some time, there will be someone at your doorstep to pick the food up and deliver it to the homeless people in your locality. But, if you can go yourself, you will get the additional bonus of watching the joy on the faces of the people who receive the food, and earn their blessings too!How difficult does this process sound? If you ask the members of a Facebook group called Food Bank—Chennai, it is very easy.

Initiated by Sneha Mohandoss, a 23-year-old visual communication student who is currently working in an event management organization, this group is a place to connect people who want to help the homeless with home cooked, nutritious food in Chennai.“It is like posting about your extra food. This means, not your leftovers but good food which is not being wasted because it is unwanted,” explains Sneha.Today, the group has more than 2,000 members, and it is growing as a community of people who want to contribute in their own ways. Influenced by her grandfather, who used to carry out similar food distribution drives on different occasions, Sneha wanted to develop a platform where everyone who is willing to help can participate.

“My idea is that everyone should get a chance to take up the initiative in their own areas,” she says.

If another person is already conducting a drive nearby, the two people are connected on the group.
If the person who is cooking is not in a position to go out and deliver, then someone else who can, and is located nearby, will contact him/her.

Sneha and other people in the group also take the responsibility of connecting volunteers with one another when required.Around the same time when this group was being formed, something very similar happened with Aarti Madhusudhan, a resident of Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai. Aarti had gone out on a drive with a group called the Robin Hood Army, which takes excess food from hotels and restaurants and gives it to the homeless. That day, she realised for the first time that there are so many homeless people sleeping hungry in Chennai, and this reality was completely unacceptable to her.

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