Mobile Food Bank:
Sri Poorna Mahameru Trust has been involved in running free food programmes for the past 25 years. We provide free food to anyone who comes in hungry into our campus which includes labourers, sanitation workers, slum dwellers and people from all walks of life, without any discrimination whatsoever. We have also undertaken food distribution programmes across various cities of Tamilnadu, especially in leprosy centres.
During our food distribution programmes in Chennai, we have come across mentally challenged people on the roads, who are unable to ask for food but when they were provided with food we could notice that they have been hungry for several days.
The core problem lies in identifying the needy spread out in various areas, reaching out to them and assisting them accordingly. At present, we are constrained by the lack of customised vehicle fit for this purpose, exclusively dedicated for such service. This, together with the lack of consistent funding for this purpose, has affected the sustainability of this initiative.
We propose to have a Mobile food bank – A Vehicle (van or truck) customized for such food distribution which has appropriate storage facilities. This vehicle can be driven specifically to hunger zones for providing free food to needy. Mobile food banks are widely used in USA but are yet to be consistently adopted in India. This initiative would be the first of its kind in this region.
Some examples of mobile food banks in USA are: https://www.foodbankwma.org/gethelp/mobile-food-bank/ https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/ https://www.helpingfeedpeople.org/programs/ mobile-food-pantry/
The same vehicle can be used for collecting groceries or non-perishable items such as pastry or semi perishable materials like vegetables, contributed by donors all over the region. This will provide a means for interested donors (who are otherwise restricted by mobility or time), to involve in charity at their doorstep, thereby satiating their hunger to contribute to the society while also serving the needy.
In the first year, the free food programme will cover areas around Chennai, its suburbs and neighbouring districts.
In 3 years it will be expanded to cover various regions of Tamil Nadu on the basis of needs evaluated and inputs received from our donors and volunteers.
In 5 years, neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu especially Andhra Pradesh can be covered in the third phase.