It is day three for the Coimbatore Catering Owners Association team. Lunch is cooked for over 2000 people in a central kitchen at Ashoka Perumal Kalyana Mandapam in Ram Nagar. In a few minutes, the tamarind rice, the Bisi Bele bath and the associated vegetable portion are neatly packed in containers and delivered to the migrant workers and day laborers in the Sivanandha colony, the Saibaba colony, Ganapathy (East & West) and Sanganur in Coimbatore North Zone.
“We started on March 31 with 750 food parcels each for lunch and dinner, and on the second day (April 1st) the number for each of the two meals increased to 2000 parcels,” said Madhampatty Rangaraj, president of the association.
The team approached the district collector with a proposal to distribute free groceries. Once approved, they began delivering groceries according to the instructions from Coimbatore North Tahsildar. “Revenue Inspectors and Village Administration Officers alert him to the food needs in the villages, he informs us and we prepare and distribute the food accordingly,” explains P Premkanna, member and consultant of the association, which also runs the Hindusthan catering department heads the University of the Arts and Sciences.
Quality is a priority
Food safety officials checked the kitchen for quality and hygiene before approving it. “We source vegetables from the Uzhavar sand shark and provisions from the Anna market. We make sure that we wear hats and gloves when working in the kitchen. All of the ingredients we use meet food safety standards, ”says Rangaraj, who has been a caterer for over three decades.
The two-year association has 125 members, including caterers from Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruppur, Mettupalayam, Udumalpet and Pollachi. A year ago, they founded Eedhal, a network that provided excess food from weddings and other events to homes in Podanur and Ukkadam. Eedhal also serves food to the homeless near the general hospital and the day laborers at the train station.
“After the government announced the ban, people made it through the first three days. Then they ran out of food. We found out about it and now we are serving food here, ”says Nagaraj.
The staff in the kitchen is minimal. Premkanna says: “Most of the members themselves came forward to help us, be it in the kitchen or with vehicles to transport and distribute food. We work as a team for a noble cause. It makes us happy. “
You can contact the Eedhal hotline at 7711005060 or call Madhampatty Rangaraj at 98422-17449