Minu Pauline: How a Woman’s Innovative Idea is Making a Difference for the Hungry

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Minu Pauline
Image Source: dlatimes.com

This is an inspiring example of how a small idea of a restaurant owner in Kochi, India, has created a major difference for the hungry, homeless and poor in the locality….

Minu Pauline, the owner of restaurant Pappadavadain Kochi, India, was deeply impacted by how often she found hungry and homeless people looking for a meal in her restaurant’s garbage.

She saw so many hungry people picking up food from trash bin, and this shocked her a lot.

This forced Puline to give a thought to how much food was thrown out by her, not only at her restaurant, but also in everyday life.  She was struck by the fact that people waste so much of food, and someone takes that food from that same trash.

Pauline left a bank job to start her restaurant Pappadavada in Kochi, her hometown, in 2013.

Image Source: huffingtonpost.com
Image Source: huffingtonpost.com

After 3 years, Pauline opened her restaurant at another location with one remarkable addition – She placed a refrigerator out at the front of the restaurant, and stocked the fridge with food.

Pauline, the customers at the restaurant, and others in the community store their leftover foods, marked with date, inside the fridge. The hungry and homeless people can take food from the refrigerator any time during the day.

Pauline calls the refrigerator “nanma maram” i.e., the “virtue tree” or “tree of goodness”. The refrigerator runs 24 hours every day, 7 days a week.

Pauline keeps the fridge unlocked, which lets hungry people take food without having to feel the shame of begging. They don’t need to ask anyone to get food.

So, how much food is wasted by us? A lot!

As per UN Environment Programme, about 33% of all the food produced to be consumed by humans worldwide, is wasted or lost ultimately. A striking 40% of the food in our country gets spoiled before it is consumed, whereas in U.S. the figure of food wastage is 30%.

Pauline requests her restaurant customers not to buy food specifically to put in the fridge, and to put only the food that would go waste otherwise.

She stated that the refrigerator has made a big difference so far, and many locals in the area have started contributing their leftover foods. She said that about 200 to 300 packets or portions of food are stocked by people in the refrigerator per day, and usually whatever the fridge has in the morning, goes by evening.

Pauline said that instead of giving to charity, placing the refrigerator is an opportunity for her to help the needy in a method she knows the best way.

Although Pauline knows quite well that the small outdoor refrigerator would not solve the issue of worldwide hunger overnight, but still she believes that this step can create a big impact for a few hungry and needy, while also combating food wastage simultaneously.

Her message for her customers at her restaurant is quite simple –

“If you have extra food at home, or if you eat out and you find that you have extra food, come and drop it in this refrigerator,”

Hats off to Pauline for coming forward and helping the people who need help! I think she can inspire a lot of Indians to do our parts in whatever way possible for us, to help the poor and needy.


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Reshma Banerjee
Reshma Banerjee works as a content writer. Drawn to stories since childhood, reading is her favorite pastime. She loves admiring nature’s beauty and thinking about the mysteries of the cosmos. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter