Kottayam: The Kottayam district has scripted history as it spared no effort in getting the tag of the only hunger-free district in the country. The various voluntary organisations make sure that no one is going hungry in the district while feeding close to 8,000 people in a day.
Nearly 20 voluntary groups are providing food to patients of Medical College Hospital and other government hospitals. Navjeevan Trust itself is feeding as many as 5,000 patients of Medical College Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Kottayam General Hospital, Government Ayurveda Hospital and Government Homoeopathy Hospital.
At least one hefty meal
It’s always a long and laborious day for the ragpicker couple Thomas and Molly. Now, both are not active at work as Molly fractured her hand a while ago, and Thomas is not keeping good health. They start off their day with a black coffee, and depend on these voluntary groups for the mid-day meal. Both have a pretty good idea of the food delivery schedue of,every voluntary organisation here and would collect food accordingly. Usually, they are forced to skip supper, and go to sleep on an empty stomach.
When asked whether they would feel hungry after just one meal a day, they said, “It is not an issue as it has become a habit.”
But they have one grievance: no free food on Wednesdays and Fridays at Nagambadam, their place of stay. They are forced to buy lunch out of their meagre income from nearby hotels.
We keep hunger at bay
More than 100 people come for free lunch at the Pakalveedu (daycare home) at Vayasukarakunnu in the town. Anyone can have food, provided by Red Cross, from the facility between 1 pm and 2 pm.
Any voluntary organisation or individual can also become part of the hunger-free project being implemented in Pala, about 20 km from Kottayam town. Food can be deposited in the box kept near Kurushupalli Kavala, and those who are hungry can have food from the box.
A Facebook group is also providing packed food (pothichoru) three days a week at night to 15 beggars in Changanacherry.
No dearth of food in Adivasi regions
People residing in tribal colonies are a happy lot as they are getting their due share of rice and provisions from ration shops in the district. It is noteworthy that 40 families are dependent on the ration shops near to the Eruthuapuzah Adivasi colony.
Nearly 241 people are sleeping on pavements and other public spaces in the district, according to a survey conducted by the corporations in July. The break-up is as follows: Kottayam Corporation –114, Vaikom Corporation –7, Ettumanur Corporation – 33, Changanacherry Corporation – 27, Pala Corporation – 38, Erattupettah Corporation – 13 and Gandhinagar – 9.
The voluntary groups that provide food to patients of various hospitals in the district: Navajeevan Trust, Leader K Karunakaran Smaraka Charitable Trust, Muttambalam Gurukula Sevasamithi, Parishudha Thirumeni Annadhana Project, Pallikathodu Lourde Bhavan, CH Yuva Kendra, JSM Medical Aid Centre, Changanacherry Junction Facebook Group, Sevabharathi, King Jesus, Sathyasai Sevasamajam, Vishwakarma Samajam, Edachetty Saraswathy Temple and Karunya Charitable Society, among others.