A popular restaurant in Kochi, India is doing something unprecedented to help feed hungry people in its community who don’t have money to buy food.
The restaurant, Pappadavada, has a refrigerator set up outside it where people can put their excess food in for other people to take freely.
By simply providing a means for customers and the community to share their leftover food, the restaurant is helping solve both hunger and food wastage, one meal at a time.
Pappadavada owner Minu Pauline even has a name for the fridge: “Nanma Maram” or “Tree of Goodness,” as it is shaded by a nearby tree.
Placed just two weeks ago, “Nanma Maram” is unlocked 24/7 for everyone to use freely. People are asked to indicate the date they left the food on the packaging to identify the age of the meal.
Pauline told the Huffington Post that the project was such a hit that most food doesn’t stay in the fridge for long. Due to the high demand from the hungry, Pauline herself places around 75 to 80 meal portions from her restaurant daily.
The generous owner understands the need to restock the fridge regularly.
“There’s days when I put 100 in there,” she said. “There are no limits.”
Her idea to help strangers came to Pauline when, one night, she saw a lady searching for food in the garbage bin.
“That the woman had been sleeping and was woken up by her hunger, so she had to go in search of food instead of sleeping,” she said.
What she witnessed saddened her because, that night, the restaurant had made so much food that they could have just given to the woman.
“Money is yours but resources belong to society,” she said. “That’s the message I want to send out. 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.”