THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For 47-year-old Ajith Shankumugham, a social worker hailing from the coastal hamlet in the state capital, feeding the hungry is life’s mission. He has set up a unique glass box named ‘Amma Oonu’ at Shankumugham Beach where free food packets are kept for those who need them. The pandemic outbreak, lockdowns and rough sea conditions have made life miserable for fishermen and their families lately.
“Amma Oonu is expected to help those who are hesitant to ask for help or food. This idea has been in my mind for a long time now. I am happy that the plan has become a reality. I don’t want to take any credit as this is the least I can do for the community,” says Ajith.
A fisherman himself, Ajit has been actively spearheading various services for the past six years. In just the three days Amma Oonu has been live, hundreds of food packets have been distributed already. Ajith is hoping that more people across the state will take up the initiative. He spent around Rs 15,000 for setting up the shelf that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“The livelihood of fishermen was affected badly in the last two years. People are struggling for daily survival and silently suffering from hunger,” said Ajith. According to him, middle-class families are the worst hit. “They cannot even ask for help. But Amma Oonu will serve those in need even if they don’t ask for it. The response has been great so far. I hope we can open more counters soon,” he says.
The local communities have also come to Ajith’s aid now. “Families are cooking extra food at home to help with the initiative. After seeing the social media post I put up, calls have been pouring even from abroad, encouraging and offering help. If there is excess food, we can always share,” says Ajith.