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Fighting COVID-19: Community Kitchens In Thiruvananthapuram Deliver Food To 67,000 Migrants And Poor Amid Lockdown

Fighting COVID-19: Community Kitchens In Thiruvananthapuram Deliver Food To 67,000 Migrants And Poor Amid Lockdown
Volunteers packing food for the poor in a community kitchen in Thiruvananthapuram


  1. Thiruvananthapuram is serving breakfast, lunch, dinner to the needy
  2. Separate camps being set up for migrant workers
  3. Many youngsters are also coming forward to help in serving the poor
New Delhi: 

The state of Kerala has been fighting COVID-19 pandemic on a mission mode. In order to keep the people from starving during the lockdown, the state has set up community kitchens in almost every district and lakhs food packages are being distributed every day across the state. Out of this, more than two lakh food packages are being distributed in Thiruvananthapuram serving 67,000 people including migrant labourers, homeless people and the senior citizens every day. While talking to NDTV about the initiative, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Deputy Mayor Rakhi Ravikumar said,

There are 25 community kitchens working under the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. We have 100 wards in the district and there are 20 volunteers in ward. These volunteers pack the food cooked in the kitchen and distribute in their wards to the people and households who have been identified by the Corporation on the basis of the requests received from the community. These include the poor and destitute, migrant labourers, senior citizens who are living alone and people with different abilities. We are providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to them free of cost through these kitchens.

She further informed that the district was already running a scheme to serve food to the needy people with love and dignity with just a few kitchens but after the crisis hit the state, the effort has been enhanced exponentially. She said,

We have set up three camps where we have rehabilitated destitute people and medical check-up is also being done. Separate camps are being set up for migrant workers.

She said that different dishes are being served on different days and the administration is trying to keep nutritious and wholesome meals in the menu. Breakfast includes idly-sambhar or uttapam or upma, lunch includes rice, sambhar, one traditional vegetable curry, dinner includes upma or chapatti with veggies. The Department of Social Welfare in the district is also providing food to infants and mothers via Anganwadis since the beginning of the lockdown to meet their nutrition.


Different dishes are being served to the poor on different days keeping nutrition in consideration

Earlier, the district administration was receiving requests from lakhs of people every day via the helpline number and online booking facility that the municipal corporation was running. However, after the state government started providing relief measures to people, the demand for cooked meals has decreased significantly and so the helpline and online booking facilities have been stopped.

According to Ms. Ravikumar, the relief measures from the state government includes distributing 15 kg rice to the poor for free along with a kit worth Rs. 1,000 that has essential items for cooking and hygiene, and financial support of Rs. 1,100 per month for five months.


There are 25 community kitchens operating in Thiruvananthapuram

Ms. Ravikumar highlighted that in case someone new who is not covered under any of the government efforts, wants food, they can either get in touch with the volunteers or with the local representatives of their area. However, she added that volunteers and local representatives are already on a look out for persons who are needy but are not receiving any help. She said,

Our only mission is to ensure that not even a single person faces starvation.

According to Ms. Ravikumar, the volunteers are the local people including children. She said,

The kids in the district have insisted to make use of their time in serving the society as the schools are closed. We are ensuring that social distancing norms are being followed by the volunteers while packing and serving the food and it has been made mandatory for them to wear masks and gloves.

NDTV reached out to one of the volunteers, Vinod K Kunjuraman, 50, who along with his wife and 12-year-old son is running a community kitchen which is serving people in three wards, namely, Vazhuthacaud, Jagathy and Pangode. Mr. Kunjuraman,

We are not afraid of the virus as much as we are afraid of losing our brothers and sisters to poverty and hunger. There is nothing worse than this. Our district is not as badly hit from COVID-19 but because there is a lockdown in place, people have lost their livelihood.

He further said that he started a community kitchen on March 23 and during the initial days the demand for the food packets kept on rising per day and by the fourth day, they were distributing more than 2,000 packets. Now, since the state government has taken up most of the responsibility, they are distributing only 328 food packets every day. Mr. Kunjuraman added,

We have 20 volunteers for cooking and packing and 12 volunteers for delivering who are making a smooth operation of this initiative possible. They are always on time and ensure that food reaches to people fresh and hot.

As of now, 15 cases have been reported in Thiruvananthapuram out of which currently are two are active cases, as per the district administration.

Covornavirus Outbreak In Kerala

Kerala is the first state in India that reported a confirmed COVID-19 case. The first case was reported on January 30. A total of 408 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported in Kerala, as of April 21 said the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare. Of the total tally, 291 patients have recovered and three patients have died.

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