My Story: “Do I Seem Like A Beggar? Life Took Away My Family & Gave Me This Begging Bowl”

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“Maybe you will find me here every evening from now on, sitting with my begging bowl. I am an old woman; I lost everything in life except my younger son. But tell me one thing, do I seem like a beggar to you?

You say you stay in Bengaluru. Nice city. So neat and clean, and the weather is perfect. I remember visiting the city long back, in my good times. Those cherished memories now feel like another life.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

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Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

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My husband was an accountant at a business firm. Two cerebral strokes, one followed shortly by the other, claimed his life at the prime of age. Shocking as it was for me, little did I know how disastrous the rest of life was going to be.

I was once a proud mother of two amazing sons. Today, I am coming here straight from the hospital, where my sole surviving son is battling severe pneumonia.

Soon after my husband’s death, my brother-in-law duped me of my husband’s entire life savings. Since I did not understand the paperwork much, he promised to take care of everything My elder son passed away in an accident a few years ago. It is just my younger son and me after that. Even as a helpless mother, I tried to protect him with all my might. He grew up to be a wonderful young man, around 22 years old now. He got himself enrolled in skill development training and secured a decent job. Things were looking upward again in life for the two of us.

Last month, he asked my permission to visit Sikkim with his school friends. I was reluctant at first. I have never let him travel far alone. And for me, the snowy mountains of Sikkim were risk-prone areas. He insisted, and I finally gave in.

Much later, while he was coughing up blood in the hospital, I got to know that in the spirit of adventure, he never wore sweaters or jackets, even in that freezing cold. He had returned from his trip with a persistent cough, that worsened over time. He was diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Due to late intervention, the phlegm and pus had accumulated in his lungs, which might have led to his death soon. I got him admitted to the local government hospital. For two weeks, I would only see him with oxygen masks, high-dose medicines and needles pricked to his hands. My boy has become so thin and weak. All my savings ran out on his treatment. I cannot even afford some healthy food for him now.

So, I come to the metro station every day post the visiting hours at the hospital. I sit at the base of the stairs and wait for busy men and women to drop a coin or two into my bowl.

Many people have offered to help me. They took my photo and promised me help. But I heard back from none. I do not know what the future has in store for me. I have lost everything once. I do not want to lose it all again.”

Efforts For Good talked with Rupa Sinha, the old lady who sits every evening in front of the right exit gate at Kavi Nazrul metro station (Lokenath temple side) in Garia, Kolkata. We are urging local volunteers and NGOs to come forward and provide financial and social support to this amazing woman, who desperately needs our help now.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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