A lunch box for the destitute

Lunch packets being distributed under the Karuthal project at the Kozhikode railway station on Sunday.

Almost a hundred people lined up near the ‘Karuthal’ box set up at the mofussil bus stand in Kozhikode on Sunday and the lunch packets in it were finished within minutes. Ayesha Fasna, the district coordinator of Together We Can that implements the project, had to source the packets from several other centres to meet the needs of people assembled there.

“We had only 30 packets with us to be kept in the box. But how are we supposed to leave the place when so many were waiting for them,” she asked narrating the experience on the first day after the ‘Karuthal’ programme was extended to Kozhikode.

‘Karuthal’ is a project designed by a Thrissur-based women-only non-governmental organisation I am Not Alone that is spread in different parts of the country and Together We Can is a subsidiary organisation that undertakes the ‘Karuthal’ project.

“It was during the first lockdown we realised that several homeless people are left hungry on our streets. Karuthal lunch boxes are placed at important spots so that the homeless could access it easily. We keep thirty lunch packets in the box every day at noon,” Ms. Ayesha, a student of sociology, said.

Within months, the project was established in six districts — Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram, Thrissur, Wayanad and Kozhikode besides in parts of Telangana and Tamil Nadu. “In seven months, we had given lunch packets to 2,500 people,” she added. In Kozhikode, the lunch boxes are kept at Mananchira, railway station, Muthalakkulam, mofussil bus stand, Palayam, second railway gate, Mankavu, Pushpa Junction and Kottaparambu Hospital.

“We have established a rapport with people in these areas such as autorickshaw drivers and shopkeepers to make sure that the packets are taken by only deserving people,” she said.

Together We Can consists of women from different sections of society and the lunch is prepared by a local home-maker in every district, making an income on their own. The project was launched by Minister for Ports Ahammad Devarkovil in Kozhikode on Saturday.

The organisation plans to spread the project to more districts and seek support of like-minded individuals and organisations in funding it. To sponsor the meals priced at ₹30 per packet, contact 8714505887.

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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 8:10:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/a-lunch-box-for-the-destitute/article36167033.ece