BIS #6538 Don Bosco Nerul 'community fridge' serves 50, 000 meals

by Lisa Dominic & Fr Barnabe D'Souza for BISMumbai

Don Bosco Nerul 'community fridge' has served around 50,000 meals so far and wishes to continue this initiative during this season of caring and sharing. The community fridge stocked with freshly cooked nutritious food filled the stomachs of many hungry street children,rag-pickers, rickshaw drivers, daily wage workers, migrants and the elderly who didn’t have anyone to cook for them during the first and second lockdown.

Although we have emerged from the second wave lockdown there are some low income families who struggle to put food on their table like that of Raju’s (name changed) family. He stays nearby with his grandmother, mother and younger brother. Today we found little Raju sitting outside the gate with his younger brother waiting for the lunch packets at 10 am. “My mother has gone for work and my nani is not well so there is no food at home,” says Raju when asked whether he had breakfast in the morning. “My father lives in my native village. He is a drunkard and does not work,” he mutters, looking away when he is questioned about his father. Raju waits patiently for the food packets to arrive and takes home 04 packets with a smile on his face.

The needy from the nearby areas who visit the refrigerator frequently are allowed to take whatever they want and how much ever they want – with no questions asked. There is a small electric table top grill in which food is heated before distributing. The staff members in charge of the fridge follow all the COVID-19 protocols like wearing masks, sanitizing their hand, maintaining distance while handing over the food packets. Freshly cooked food is stocked in the afternoon as well as in the evening daily. Many volunteers have joined Don Bosco Nerul in this noble cause. In addition to the food packets, some of the benefactors sponsor cold drinks, water bottles and chaas/lassi too. Thus, this initiative has helped Don Bosco develop a bond with the neighbourhood community.

"At present, the 'community fridge' provides around 140 - 150 food packets to the hungry every day intending to scale up the initiative during this season," says Salesians scholastic Nitesh Damor. This month, as Christmas nears, a box of Christmas goodies along with the food packets will add to the Christmas cheer, in this season of sharing and caring.