Kerala’s community kitchens serve 2.8 lakh food packets a day

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on April 10, 2020

A community kitchen in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (File photo)   -  The Hindu

After a fortnight’s operations, community kitchens in Kerala are now cooking and distributing 2.5-2.8 lakh of food packets a day.

Across 1,255 community kitchens in 14 districts, the volunteers are cautious about maintaining social distancing. Of the total, 179 kitchens function under municipal corporations. The districts with the most community kitchens are Ernakulam, Malappuram, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.

Launched by the Kerala government, the initiative is on a mission to ensure everybody is hunger-free during the lockdown. The community kitchens chiefly cater to the weaker sections including migrant labourers, homeless people and the destitute rehabilitated under the Ashraya integrated project. A large number of the food packets given free of cost.

Self-governing bodies

The kitchens are run by local self-governing bodies in association with the State’s poverty-alleviating Kudumbashree project involving women volunteers. Cooperative societies and voluntary organisations also form part of the all-Kerala mission, whose volunteers, referred to as the Arogya Sena (Health Army), operate via local WhatsApp groups.

Till Friday afternoon, the community kitchens have cooked and distributed 33 lakh food packets.

Kudumbashree has begun opening more of of its trademark Janakeeya (people’s) restaurants. Today, 238 of them serve budget meals. A pack of rice, with two side-dishes and a pickle, is home-delivered for those making advance bookings. “Going by the budget allocation for the current fiscal, we anyway had plans to open such eateries serving meals for ₹25. Owing to the lockdown, we have brought the price down to ₹20,” said S Harikishore, Director of Kudumbashree, which has been granted ₹23.64 crore for the mission.

The community kitchens also prepare breakfast and supper. While breakfasts consists of dosa/idli with sambar, dinner includes roti and a curry. These cost ₹20-30 a plate.

Published on April 10, 2020

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