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Watch: Street vendor provides free food during lockdown in India

Web Report/Chennai
Filed on May 28, 2021

He has been providing free lunch and dinner to pavement-dwellers, many of who are jobless and remain hungry throughout the day.


Struggling all his life ever since he was a kid, Kalayana Sundaram, 56, realises how life tough can be for ordinary folks, especially during these trying Covid times.

A food vendor on the streets of West Mambalam in Chennai, Sundaram had the foresight a few months back to save up money for a crisis like the second Covid wave. By May he had saved about Rs80,000 and after the lockdown was announced in Chennai, he began withdrawing the money to feed the hungry for free.

“I start my day early to prepare the food along with my wife K. Padmavathy,” Sundaram told a Chennai newspaper. “For lunch, we prepare a variety of rice like sambhar rice or puliyodharai and for dinner, it is rava pongal, arisi upma or vegetable upma.” He has been providing free lunch and dinner to pavement-dwellers, many of who are jobless and remain hungry throughout the day. He operates on Bakthavatsalam street.

While about 70 people took his food on the first day, Sundaram now caters to about 200 persons daily. He also provides them water. “I will continue doing this till I exhaust my savings,” says the proud food provider. “This city and its people have given me so much. It is time I give back to society in some way.”

Sundaram came to Chennai about 40 years ago and began packing food parcels and delivering it to homes. He then bought a pushcart to sell food items that became popular. “There are many who do a lot of things to help the poor during the lockdown -- this is what I can afford and do it to the best of my ability,” he explains. “Now, after seeing the cart, some well-wishers also have pitched in.”





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