KOCHI, India — Kochi, India, known as pappadavada in the native tongue, is known for its reasonable prices and ethnic food items. Recently, the city has gained international attention for its newest addition — the “tree of goodness.” The restaurant has started its own campaign against hunger in India.
Minu Pauline, the owner of the restaurant, was walking home late one night when she discovered a woman looking through a trash can for food. “That woman had been sleeping and was woken up by her hunger,” Pauline recounts in an interview with Huffington Post. “She had to go in search of food instead of sleeping.”
She’s not the only one.
Although India’s GDP and per capita consumption has increased, 194.6 million people remain underfed. India is home to 25 percent of all undernourished people worldwide, the largest hungry population in the world.
Pauline’s experience with hunger in India compelled her to install a community refrigerator outside the restaurant. Patrons wrap their leftovers and place them inside of the fridge, offering the needy a reliable and sustainable source of nourishment.
The refrigerator nicknamed “namma maram,” which translates to “tree of goodness,” is open every day, 24 hours a day. The restaurant asks clients to write the date of purchase to ensure the hungry have fresh food. Those who wish to take a meal can do so with no questions asked.
Pappadavada will provide for the operating costs of the refrigerator, as well as clean it twice a week. The restaurant has installed a CCTV for security.
Pauline and her team encourage other restaurant owners and goers, party hosts or individuals to donate their leftovers to the “tree of goodness.” “Through this ‘nama maram’ endeavor, we aim to conserve the precious natural resources,” Pauline told New Indian Express. The restaurant team also hopes to alleviate hunger in India simultaneously.
Despite contributions from Pappadavada customers and the Kochi community, the food doesn’t stay for long. Pauline personally adds up to 100 portions on some days. The fridge feeds dozens every night.
“If I kept doing nothing then nothing would have happened,” Pauline asserts to Independent. “Stand up for the change you wish to see.”
– Ashley Leon