Life & Style

Covid 19: Catering for migrant workers in North Coimbatore

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association gives free food to those affected by the Covid-19 lockdown in the villages of Coimbatore North zone

It is day three for the team of Coimbatore Catering Owners Association. At a centralised kitchen at Ashoka Perumal Kalyana Mandapam in Ram Nagar lunch is being cooked for over 2000 people. In a few minutes, the tamarind rice, bisi bele bath and the accompanying vegetable poriyal will be neatly packed into containers and delivered to the migrant workers and daily wage earners at Sivanandha Colony, Saibaba Colony, Ganapathy (East & West) and Sanganur in Coimbatore North zone.

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“We started on March 31 with 750 food packets each for lunch and dinner, and on day two (April 1) the numbers increased to 2000 packets for each of the two meals,”says Madhampatti R. Nagaraj, President of the association.

The team approached the District Collector with a proposal to distribute free food. Once they got the approval, they started supplying food based on the directions of the Coimbatore North Tahsildar. “Revenue Inspectors and Village Administration Officers alert him on the food requirements in the villages, he informs us and we prepare the food and distribute accordingly,” explains P Premkanna, a member and advisor to the association, who also heads the catering department of Hindusthan College of Arts and Science.

Quality, a priority

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The food safety officials inspected the kitchen for quality and hygiene before giving them a go ahead. “We source vegetables from the uzhavar sandhai and provisions from the Anna Market. We ensure that we wear caps and gloves while working in the kitchen. All the ingredients we use, comply with the food safety norms,”says Nagaraj, who has been a caterer for over three decades.

The two-year old association has 125 members, that includes caterers from Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruppur, Mettupalayam, Udumalpet and Pollachi. A year ago, they set up Eedhal, a network that catered surplus food from weddings and other functions to homes in Podanur and Ukkadam. Eedhal also serves food to the homeless people near General Hospital, and the daily wage earners at the Railway Station.

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone

Coimbatore Catering Owners Association prepares food for workers in the villages of Coimbatore North zone   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“Once the government announced the lockdown, people managed for the first three days. After that the food ran out for them. We came to know of it and now here we are serving food,”says Nagaraj.

The staff working in the kitchens is minimal. Says Premkanna, “Most of the members themselves came forward to help us, be it in the kitchen or with vehicles to transport and distribute food. We are working as a team as one for a noble cause. It makes us happy.”

You can contact the Eedhal helpline at 7711005060 or call Madhampatti R Nagaraj at 98422-17449

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 10:58:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/covid-19-catering-for-migrant-workers-in-north-coimbatore/article31246319.ece

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