Chennai's Community Fridge initiative

In a fight against poverty and starvation, an orthodontist from Chennai has stepped up and started an initiative to make sure that food reaches the poor and the needy.

Doctor Issa Fathima Jasmine has set up a community fridge in and around Chennai. This installation is a part of the non-profit organization called The Public Foundation that she had set up in 2017.

Her selfless public deeds are a result of her getting inspired by her father. Growing up she witnessed her father organize similar initiatives and helped the poor and the needy through donation and charity. This is the sole inspiration behind her social organization, The Public Foundation.

Her initiative to install a community fridge came from a very simple idea. She stated that she thought of donating the left-over food that otherwise is wasted but she didn’t know if people would come forward to accept food from her.

Hence, she took the initiative to install a community fridge with a capacity of 400 to 600 liters where more people could come forward and donate food for the poor. The fridge goes by the name ‘Ayyamittu Unn’ which is a one-line poem in Tamil. It translates as “share the food with the needy before you eat”.

This is a unique and dignified way to feed the needy. The fridge has a logbook to track the different food items donated by the people. They are required to label the food before donating them.

The fridge remains open throughout the day from 7 am to 9 pm and is manned by a security guard. Besides the refrigerator, there is a shelf where books, clothes, and toys are also donated by people. This initiative has helped her feed almost thousands every day. 

 Dr. Jasmine also started a community kitchen. With the help of volunteers, she has managed to distribute more than 1000 meals per day in the shantytowns across Chennai.

Apart from that, she has conducted various distribution drives in various rural and urban areas of Tamil Nadu.