Couple in Chennai feeds over 70 homeless people every day

Johnson and Shareen

There’s nothing more noble than feeding the poor is what Ullagaram resident Johnson (30) and his wife Shareen (30) felt when they first experienced the joy of alleviating hunger in people.

What started as a humble initiative of feeding the poor has now grown into an organisation Called ‘Feed of Love’, Johnson had a lot to share about his NGO with News Today.

Excerpts:
Q: How did ‘Feed of Love’ come into picture?
A: In 2014, while returning home, my wife and I saw an old man crying for food near Velacheri Railway Station. Fortunately, we had a food parcel with us, which we gave him. Then, on multiple occasions, we saw the poor man and never failed to help him with food. But, one day, when we looked for him, we came to know that he had passed away due to continuous hunger.
Heart-broken, we decided to start an initiative for feeding the poor. Thus came Feed of Love into existence.

Q: Does your organisation focus on feeding the poor alone?
A: The prime focus of our organisation is not to feed intentional beggars but homeless people who are eagerly waiting to see the light of day. Those who benefit from our organisation will surely stand on their own in a short period of time. Firstly, our volunteers identify homeless people throughout Chennai who got stranded due to poverty and family problems.
We, then, start feeding them every night for over an year simultaneously preparing an accommodation for them at a nearby government-owned shelter. When we provide them with these basic needs, they find their own footing.

Q: How do you manage to distribute food packets to the homeless?
A: Initially, we procured food packets from hotels. But, when we felt they were neither cost effective nor hygienic, we decided to prepare the meals by ourselves. My wife makes the meal while I help her in the process.
We prepare food by 2 pm and start the distribution of food packets by 6 pm. Over 15 students of Madras Christian College belonging to various streams are our regular volunteers and they help us distribute the food packets. As of today, we are feeding over 70 homeless people on a daily basis.

Q: How do you manage the funding for this initiative?
A: Predominantly, my wife and I spend from our own pockets. But we do welcome help. More than monetary assistance, we accept rice, oil, dhal, vegetables and masala items, as they give a sense of satisfaction for our contributors who have, so far, came to know about us only through word of mouth.
Our house is open on all days and residents can drop in their contributions. They can also give used clothes and essentials which will be distributed. If residents want to serve the homeless, they can also volunteer with us and take this initiative forward.
The couple live at No. 19, Bharathi Street, Ullagaram and they can be contacted at 89394 62648.

S Ben Raja