My Story: With My Cramped Hand & A Heap Of Luggage; A Man On A Scooter Became My Messiah On Women’s Day

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“It was my day to fly home to Kolkata after nearly ten months alone in Bengaluru. Little did I know that the excitement I woke up with would soon fizzle out.

As I stepped outside my door with a pile of the backpack, trolley and handbags, a surprisingly hot morning sun offered me a bitter welcome. The plan was to attend office, pull an early day and straight away head to the airport for the late-night flight. For those who are unaware, Bengaluru airport is around 47 km away from my place. People in Bengaluru usually joke about the Bengaluru airport being closer to Hyderabad than the city itself.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

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My home to office is arguably walking distance, which completes my daily quota of shedding a few calories. But today was a different day. I desperately needed an auto to help me reach my workplace armed with my baggage. Also, I had a crepe bandage wrapped around my right hand, thanks to persistent pain from carpal tunnel syndrome.

As minutes drew close to an hour, I was trying to book an auto and failing. Auto-drivers in my area are quite infamous for dodging requests be it in person or through apps. I was not a new victim.

Clueless, I picked up the luggage with my cramping hand and started walking, with the feeble hope of meeting some considerate auto-driver on my way. I was to meet with sheer disappointment as one after another auto-driver replied with a curt Illa (No) to my desperate pleas.

I was almost on the verge of a breakdown as the pain only worsened and the load was becoming heavier by the second. Little did I know that a man would be my Messiah on the morning of Women’s Day.

Struggling, I somehow walked on with an awkward gait. Suddenly, someone asked from behind, “You need help, Ma?”

I turned around to find a grey-haired man sporting a soothing smile atop a scooter. He looked around sixty. He again smiled at me and offered me a lift. It was like a blessing from the blue for me. He picked up my luggage and managed to fit everything in the leg space. As I settled in the pillion seat, he set off and soon dropped me at my destination.

“I saw you struggling to walk. I figured you needed help,” he smilingly said as I alighted.

Amid my million ‘thank you’-s, he kept on smiling the same way. Finally, he wished, “Happy Women’s Day, Ma,” and scooted away. ”

– Sayantani Nath

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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.

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Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

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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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