BIS #6495 Don Bosco Nerul community fridge alleviates hunger
by Father Barnabe D'Souza for BISmumbai
The Community Fridge acts as a grassroot response to a felt food insecurity crisis’.
Since the Pandemic, Community Fridge programs have sprung up rapidly in many places. When setting up a community fridge, location is one of the most important factors to consider. Don Bosco Nerul has its Community Fridge at the entrance of the school gate. We wanted to create an atmosphere where people could live with dignity and were not forced to beg.
The food provided here is Free of Cost. There is no need for an ID, an explanation or policing on the quantity of food a person can take, the main purpose being to provide accessibility for all. The fridge stores freshly cooked meals and water. “People sometimes give us donations in memory of a family member or a friend who has died. They then ask us to cook that person’s favourite dish so others can enjoy it”. We keep vigilance near the fridge to ensure that there is no wastage of food.
Initially, the fridge catered to around 50 – 60 meals a day but as the word spread around, the numbers increased consistently and the graph started moving upwards. Today 9 months after the inauguration, the fridge caters to around 4000 + meals a month and still counting.
Covid - 19 has only amplified and maximized every economic problem for the poor. The fridge has come as a boon to those who were struggling to provide at least a one-time meal to their families during the Pandemic.
The Community Fridge does not only cater to the underprivileged, it caters to loaders, auto rickshaw drivers and petty vendors who also stop by to grab a food packet when they’re hungry, in addition to the children from our Oratory whose parents go to work and have no time to cook, children from our neighbourhood slums who keep roaming on the streets as they have no online school to attend, the handicapped and many such needy and marginalized. The food from the fridge can be availed from morning till late evening, this gives them some food security.
Slowly as the country limps back to normalcy, people are still struggling to make their ends meet.
Don Bosco Nerul is happy that it makes a difference for those needy and hungry.