Kollam: The 2019 Global Hunger Index which was released early this week states 'India suffers from a level of hunger that is serious'. The country ranked 102, much below its neighbours Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (66), Nepal (73) and China (25). This is when the country had halved its poverty rate since the 1990s with successful interventions by the central and state governments. Though Kerala has the lowest poverty level among Indian states, it is still making persistent efforts to feed those who struggle to take three square meals a day.
As part of its efforts to combat hunger, the Fishermen Community Development Programme (FCDP) here distributes free food to 106 poor people every day. Implemented under a scheme christened ‘Visappinu vida’ (Goodbye to Hunger), the free food distribution covers 25 km from Thanni to Thangasseri.
The beneficiaries of the scheme, launched on April 1, 2017 are elderly people who are poor, have no issue and suffer from various diseases.
The food is taken in an electric autorickshaw to the beneficiaries by Rini, a native of Vady. “Each parcel would have enough food for two people. The items are prepared at the catering unit of FCDP. Non-vegetarian items also are served,” said FCDP director Fr Joby Sebastian.
Work on the food parcels starts by 5am and it will be over by 10am. Distribution, which takes place from 11am to 1pm, is done by volunteers. A quality check is carried out every week by a special team to ensure that proper standards are maintained.
FCDP’s office at Pallithottam often receives contributions from the public to fund the free-food initiative.
The expenses for a day’s food came to Rs 5,00, Fr Joby says.