A small initiative started by a Kerala man is now not only preventing large quantity of food going waste but also ensures that it reaches those in need. For the past ten years, Shamrez Baker, a compassionate and driven individual, has been at the forefront of the social movement in feeding the hungry in Kannur.
Noticing large quantity of food going waste at weddings and other posh social gatherings, Shamrez Baker founded an Facebook group called “Athazhakkoottam” in 2013 to streamline the collection, distribution and delivery of excess food. He was supported by a group of well-wishers and friends. What began as a modest effort quickly gained momentum and the group could expand its activities to Kannur and Taliparamba.
“It was an incident at a wedding event that prompted me to launch this movement. I saw the family which conducted the wedding digging up a huge pit using an excavator to bury large quantity of food. That sight was an eye opener for me because I knew a family near my home which was struggling for food,” Shamrez Baker told “Open Digest.”
Shamrez Baker, through dedication and tireless work, transformed the movement into a prominent force and over the past decade, utilised tons of food, which would have otherwise gone to waste, to feed the hungry.
“The initial days of the movement was easy as many people came forward with support to pack the food and supply it to the needy. But soon, people lost interest and finally only my family was left to support me in packing and distributing the food. Even many saw it as an opportunity to dispose of the waste food. We had to over come a lot of obstacles and struggles to streamline the food collection process and distribution,” he said adding that they also ensure that the food maintains its freshness and nutritional value.
The Facebook groups in Kannur, Thalassery and Taliparamba now have a network of volunteers who willingly contribute their time and effort to this noble cause. The Facebook and WhatsApp groups serve as a digital for the volunteers and donators to connect and coordinate the activities.
The group has also launched a freezer facility at Kannur for storing the food and serve them fresh to the needy. In fact, the movement started by Shamrez Baker has created a ripple effect within the community, inspiring others to take action. Numerous restaurants and businesses have come forward extending support to the movement which is an example of how a small effort can make a positive difference in the society.