Restaurants and members of the public in Hyderabad can now leave excess food at refrigerators set up by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) at Shilparamam. The fridges will be accessible to anyone who wishes to have a free meal during any time of the day.
The initiative by the GHMC named ‘Feed the Need’ was launched in association with the NGO Apple Home. The NGO which has set up one refrigerator, will set up 9 more refrigerators in February and aims to set up 100 of these free food fridges over the course of the year.
Apart from Shilparamam, refrigerators will be set up at Niloufer hospital, Basavaratha hospital, ESIC hospital and Chanda Nagar metro station to begin with. The food quality and hygiene will be maintained by Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) hired by the NGO.
Residents living nearby can also donate excess food from their homes. GHMC has reached out to a few nearby restaurants who have all agreed to stock the fridge with their excess food.
“We will facilitate the linkage and get in touch with the restaurants to keep the food that gets normally wasted. At the end of each day, hotels have to dispose off the food as per the norms, now they can keep in the fridge for whoever is hungry in the night,” said Hari Chandra, West Zone Commissioner for GHMC.
Since the launch of the service on Thursday, many hotel and restaurant owners have expressed their interest to share excess food. “Some are offering spaces outside their restaurants. The response is amazing, so we will rethink our strategy and probably put out more refrigerating units,” said Chandra, each of the refrigerator unit has been set up at a cost Rs 1.5 lakh,“ she added.
Speaking to TNM, Dr.Neelima Arya, founder of Apple Homes the NGO behind the initiative said the refrigerators are not just meant only for the poor but for anyone in need. “The idea of the refrigerator is that it's not just for the poor, one has to understand the concept, it is for the needy. Anyone can pick up a water bottle or fruit or anything. It's not meant solely for the poor. Shilparamam is a place visited by a lot of people and there are many eating joints here. This is the reason we chose this location," she said.
Though the GHMC was initially not too keen about setting up these free food refrigerators, the corporation warm up to the idea in sometime. “When we first approached the GHMC in November 2018 for permission the proposal was rejected as they did not want this service to affect the functioning of their Anapurna scheme that provides food for Rs 5. But one of the additional commissioners was supportive, and in January this year they agreed to give space for the fridge and allot power, but asked us to maintain it," Neelima said.