Minu Pauline, a restaurant owner from Kochi, in southern India, recently made news headlines not for her culinary expertise but her awe-inspiring generosity.
"If I kept doing nothing then nothing would have happened," said Minu, an owner of Pappadavada restaurant, who put a fridge laden with uneaten food on the street outside her business to help the needy.
The fridge – nicknamed Nanma Maram, meaning 'tree of goodness' – began as a place people in need could pick up excess food from the restaurant. The Nanma Maram initiative is an extension of her passion for outside-the-box ideas, but the project isn't something she wants to claim as her own. Instead, she wants it to become a community activity, a movement that she hopes will spread across the city – at other restaurants, homes, hostels, and anywhere else where there's a chance of food going to waste. It has now become a community hub, with people from across town donating to it.
She currently leaves around 50 packets of food in it for anybody who is hungry. Three years ago she quit a fairly cushy bank job to chase her dream of doing something different, which is when she launched 'Pappadavada'. According to The Hindu media, she says she "isn't particularly fond of playing safe and being comfortable." Nanma Maram is an extension of that philosophy. It's partly a way for her to do her bit for the hungry and homeless, but she's also taking a chance on the kindness of others.
The fridge is open to anyone 24/7, left unlocked, unsupervised and anyone who needs to can utilise it. You can leave food or take it, anytime of the day. It feeds dozens of people every night. "This is not a campaign to make people invest more in charity; the idea is to use what you already have, to donate the food that you might waste."