Community fridges are gaining popularity

The fridge kept outside Byblos restaurant at Indiranagar in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

On a cloudy morning in BTM Layout, Anil, who is a resident and also runs a general store there, walked up to a single-door refrigerator behind Vega City Mall, and deposited two packets of bread and a pack of biscuits.

In less than half-an-hour, Raghuvendra, who lives in a slum nearby, opened the fridge and took out what he wanted to eat. "Every day, I come to the refrigerator to get some food. It helps me survive,” he said, visibly elated.

In an attempt to fight hunger among the poor and stop wastage of food, a Tamil Nadu-based NGO, The Public Foundation, established The Public Fridges in Chennai in 2017. In November 2017, The Public Foundation made an attempt to extend its reach by installing a community fridge in BTM Layout, Bengaluru. Open from 8 .a.m. to 8 p.m., the community fridge has been a hit.

"It is a great initiative. People living in the slum nearby are using this refrigerator to get their daily meals," said Mr. Anil, who deposits in the fridge regularly.

Issa Fathima Jasmine, founder of The Public Foundation, said, “Some people feel embarrassed to pack leftover food at restaurants. They walk away, but do not realise that their leftovers are later dumped in the garbage. Instead of leaving food to be dumped, they can pack the food and leave it in the nearest community fridge for the needy,” adding that the foundation is looking to establish more community refrigerators across the city due to the positive feedback.

Similar community refrigerators have been installed by the 'Rotary Bangalore Brigades' — five in Bengaluru and three in Tumakuru.

One was installed outside Byblos, a restaurant serving Lebanese cuisine, in Indiranagar. Nilesh Bansode, restaurant manager, Byblos, said, "The refrigerator has been functional for three years. We are consistently placing food in the fridge, which is taken out by needy or homeless people. We usually place food cooked for the staff of the restaurant in the refrigerator," he said.

Vimla Pinto from Rotary Bangalore Brigades said, "Any licenced restaurants which is willing to help the poor can install such a fridge. Many restaurants in the city dump excess food in the waste bin. Our aim is to stop wastage of food and install as many fridges as possible outside restaurants."

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 8:24:12 PM |

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