Chennai resident Geetha Kumar’s initiative to cater to the needy and homeless in Tambaram is a first of its kind in the suburbs. Pagirndhu Unn, a community fridge/shelve restocked with 50 packets of fresh food and other essentials every day is for public who are in need.
“I have always been inclined towards serving the society. Once, when my friends and I were casually chitchatting on issues of societal concern, one of my batchmates planted this idea of setting up a community fridge. After countless hours of discussion and meetings with the Municipal Commissioner, we finally decided to set up public fridge in Tambaram,” exults Geetha.
“The main idea behind setting up the fridge in suburbs was accessibility. More than the city, suburbans needed facilities like these. As the city already boasts a couple of such community fridge, we wanted to focus on outer circle of Chennai,” adds Geetha.
The public fridge was inaugurated by Tambaram Municipal Commissioner K Krishnamurthy on November 9 and since then, has seen an overwhelming response from eateries and public in terms of food donation.
Janarthanam, owner of an established restaurant in the locality says, “Earlier, we used either throw away the excess food or give it to orphanages, which again let us serve only to a closed group of people. But this one of a kind community fridge in Tambaram gave us an opportunity to serve an open crowd, which is fantastic.”
“The food from this public fridge can be taken between 7 am and 9 pm every day. A watchman is employed to ensure proper distribution of food and to consider other safety aspects. Soon a camera would be fixed to monitor the fridge,” muses Geetha.
The food that is donated goes through a quality examination, especially dishes containing meat, to ensure that unhealthy products are not distributed to the public.
“Apart from the food, people leave books, pencils and clothes in the cupboard next to the fridge, which is an add on. The response has been astounding. A person on wheelchair came all the way from Camp Road to have the food. Instances like these reassure us that our step had some meaning to it,” adds Geetha.
“When there is extra food, we do not know how to donate it. But this public fridge is a great idea as it would benefit many on a day-to-day basis,” said Srinivasan, a resident of State Bank Colony (Old) West Tambaram.
Not even a month since its inception, Geetha and her group are getting request from many other suburbs to set up community fridge. “We are overjoyed by the response and ready to open as many community fridges to cover the suburban areas. But for now, our team is working on tying up with local restaurants and stores for food supplies. Once that is set, we are good to go.”, she says, when asking her on plans of branching out.