Madurai

This good samaritan feeds the homeless and hungry

As the poor, the homeless and labourers start gathering in front of Amma Unavagam at Jawahar Grounds in Palayamkottai for breakfast, an AIADMK functionary awaits their arrival with tokens to buy and distribute idlis to them.

When the frail-looking customers return in the afternoon, the functionary again distributes tokens — this time for sambar rice and curd rice.

This is happening at all 10 Amma Unavagams in Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai after prohibitory orders were issued following a nationwide lockdown in the wake of COVID-19. The impoverished section of society, rendered jobless due to the closure, are able to enjoy free breakfast and lunch, thanks to AIADMK Tirunelveli urban district secretary N. Ganesa Raja, who foots the bill.

Sensing that the deserted roads and downed shutters of business establishments, particularly roadside eateries, have made the street people’s existence bleak, he has decided to serve free-of-cost food to them.

Under the arrangement, the Amma Unavagams will collectively serve 15,000 idlis in the morning and 5,000 sambar and curd rice plates in the afternoon. Mr. Ganesa Raja, who has purchased tokens for the quantity, distributes the food to the customers through party functionaries posted there.

The daily bill: ₹15,000 for idlis, ₹25,000 for sambar rice and ₹15,000 for curd rice.

Amma [late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa] started the community kitchen, where food is served at heavily subsidised cost, with the objective of feeding the poor. Her dream was ‘peace, prosperity and progress’. Hunger is the obstacle in achieving our late leader’s dream. It is an opportunity for me to alleviate the hunger of the poor and I am doing it with a deep sense of satisfaction,” says Mr. Ganesa Raja, a renowned organic farmer.

Even late-comers do not leave with empty stomach.

On Thursday, for instance, when he comes out of Amma Unavagam at Jawahar Grounds in Palayamkottai around 10.30 a.m., he encounters three labourers at the entrance. As breakfast is over, he gives them money to buy snacks and tea and tokens for lunch. He then leaves for the next Amma Unavagam in Melapalayam.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:40:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/this-good-samaritan-feeds-the-homeless-and-hungry/article31174506.ece

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