For a hunger-free city

Food Bank Coimbatore holds a food drive to encourage food sharing and no wastage

It’s going to be busy day for Vaishnavee Balaji and her team at Food Bank Coimbatore as they get ready to distribute food to homeless people in the city today. “ It’s been four years and this is our 500th food drive in the city. We plan to reach out to over 1000 people who live on the streets, and to patients at the Government Hospital and a few select homes in the city,” says Vaishnavee who founded Food Bank Coimbatore on Facebook to build a community that provides freshly cooked food and not leftovers to the hungry.

Info you can use

  • Food drive begins at VOC Park today at 10. 00 am. People are welcome to bring food from home and join the initiative
  • On May 26 ( Sunday) there will be an awareness event for children and adults on how to cut down on food wastage. There will be elocution, art, photography and storytelling competitions for children from 12 noon onwards followed by a discussion in the evening from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm at Brookefields Mall centre Atrium
  • Feeding Young Minds is another initiative by Food Bank for students. They have formed food clubs in over 15 colleges where students monitor and control food wastage in the hostels.
  • To know more, call: 99448-76331

Every year, as a part of World Hunger Day (May 28) awareness drives, the community educates people on food wastage and the concept of sharing. This year, they are undertaking a survey where they ask the homeless about themselves. “It was a great learning experience,” says Vaishnavee. “We have called it Beggar Free City survey. The objective is to work on solutions, like finding them a job or helping them to move to a home.”

She gives an example of a civil engineer from Anna University who begs near Puliakulam. “Though his family is well off, Ramesh, who suffers from depression, left home in Chennai. He has a physical disability too. But, he doesn’t want to move to a home. But we are counselling him and have offered to help him find a job.”

Sometimes the food bank team has helped out in other ways. For example, a person near VOC Park, who is immobile, requested them to buy him packets of handkerchief that he could then sell and make a living. “Besides people with physical disabilities, we want to help the mentally challenged people too. We have just a few homes in the city and with limited resources to look after them. If you pass by Arts College Road, you may encounter a man yelling at passers by. He is supposed to be a lawyer who was betrayed by his family and ended up on the streets. When we approached him, he gave us ₹100 to us and asked us to buy him coffee and mushroom biriyani from Annapoorna,” recounts Vaishnavee.

The survey also revealed that there were also those who were ‘lifestyle beggars’ who seem to be taking the easy way out. They beg, eat and then sleep on the platform. “Through the survey, we are trying to identify the really needy ones in order to help them. We also look for support from the Government to make this possible. With our awareness drives, we hope there will be no hunger nor a need for a Food Bank in the city.”

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