Ayyamittu Unn -The Community Fridge feeding the hungry

Hunger is one of the most common problems in a developing country with huge population, like ours. The government schemes are falling short to make the ends meet. But, there are few examples where the citizens and communities step up to do their bit in helping the needy.

Let me tell you about one such woman whose incredible efforts in this direction, are helping people who are in need. Dr. Issa Fathima Jasmine, an orthodontist by profession, started this initiative by installing a Community Fridge, outside the Besant Nagar Tennis Club in Chennai. It is named ‘Ayyamittu Unn’, which is a one line poem from the collection ‘Aathichoodi’, written by Avvaiyar in Tamil, beautifully translating into English as ‘share the food with the needy before you eat’.

She told that she almost always had leftover food at home, and she used to give to the lady outside her house. But one day, she began to realise that there would be many hunger stricken people like that lady, who would benefit from her food. But she alone can’t feed everyone, and some people might be embarrassed if they are given food. So, she thought of installing a Community Fridge where anyone can give and anyone who needs food can take it without any inhibitions.

The community came together supporting this initiative. It has gained traction as many are willing to donate but are unsure of things. This community installation made it easier for everyone. Later, a shelf has also been installed to donate everything from clothes to books. There’s only one rule that all the food and things that are donated should be in a edible and usable condition, respectively.

The fridge is open everyday from 7am to 9pm. Every item should be labelled, before keeping it in the fridge. There is also a logbook in which people are required to write the name, preparation, and expiration date every item that is put into the fridge. At first, she thought it would be better to leave the fridge and the shelf unmanned. But for security reasons and to ensure that the logbook is correctly maintained, a security guard was appointed.

This is just one such example of a community coming together to help the needy. There are many such exemplary communities all around us.

Didn’t find any? Get your community together, and start the change! As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you wish to see!’

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