Poverty and hunger have become unsolvable problems in India thanks to sloppy government policies and the unwillingness of our political brass to tackle them. But the people of the country always manage to find a way to help those who are in need of food.
You have Azhar Maqsusi in Hyderabad feeding the destitute and you have Athazhakkoottam, or the supper group, carrying out a similar noble initiative in Kerala.
In the temple town of Guruvayur, a group of youngsters is feeding homeless people who beg for food at railway stations, under flyovers and bus stations.
What they do is simply serve as a link between those who don’t have food and those who have food in abundance. The group goes to weddings and family functions, asking for excess food that can be offered to people in need.
Started in December 2014, Athazhakkoottam was started by Shabbir KM, a tailor by profession.
Shabbir witnessed how one section of the population was going hungry while the other had food to throw away – a sight most common at weddings.
“And then I wondered, isn’t one a solution to the other,” Shabbir told The Indian Express.
Along with his friends, he used both social media as well as traditional means of communication to urge people to come forward and join their cause.
When they receive the food, they go around town distributing it to the homeless. Since they don’t have a proper vehicle for carrying food packets, they use their own bikes.
They also give food to disabled children.
A notable thing about their social work is that they do not give food to alcoholics.
Their Facebook page is testimony of their noble initiative’s success.
“When we started out, we got at least 25 calls on an average in a day offering food packets. All we did was spread messages on Whatsapp and Facebook. The response has been very good.”
Athazhakkoottam has also inspired other to do the same for the hungry. The Express reports that similar groups have started functioning from Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram.
The group is looking for donors who would sponsor the meals. Shabbir says that his group often takes money from small contributors who are willing to help. With the money, they cook the food and distribute it to the hungry.
As expected in India, the local administration is yet to extend any help to the group.
“To do things for public good, there will always be roadblocks. But there’s a sense of happiness in our minds, after we feed these people, some of whom may not have eaten for days,” Shabbir says.