• Adyar Times

ECO Kitchen at Injambakkam serves Medical personnel

Cooking and serving hygienic, affordable meals every day since 2010, ECO Kitchen is no stranger to calamities. It has distributed thousands of meals during the devastating floods of Chennai and the cyclone that followed.

ECO Kitchen is a unit of the YR Gaitonde Foundation, a registered charity at the forefront of public health as well as Enhancing Community Opportunities (ECO). They have partnered with Compass India, to support organisations in the frontlines to provide fresh, hot meals to those in need. Since March 23, 2020, ECO Kitchen is combating the emerging crisis with great compassion. Corona Virus is a pandemic that has triggered fear and paranoia among the people. The entire nation is on a lockdown, which was essential to slow down the spread of the virus. This affected the availability of food for the stranded populations in Chennai, who depended on eat-outs and wayside fast foods. The healthcare personnel and families of patients in public hospitals, including the Govt. General Hospital (MMC), Omandurar specialty hospital, Kilpauk Medical College, Egmore Women, and Children Hospital, and the Royapettah General Hospital were left with no option to sustain themselves for the hectic days ahead. ECO Kitchen stepped in to fill up the void.

They partnered with organisations on the ground, notably the Viswajayam Foundation, the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), the Matram Foundation, the Jeth Nagar Residents Association and the Sai Trust. Over a hundred philanthropic donors, charities, and corporate CSR, notably of L&T- ECC, and Logitech Corporation, have joined hands with them to make it possible to distribute over 5000 meals each day. The food not only brought nourishment but also comfort in this hour of crisis.

“It was not easy to prepare and distribute the meals; it had to be done at short notice. We sourced through crowdfunding, and philanthropists helped us with our appeal.

Initially, we did not have the required permission to ferry the food. People who send requests from different disciplines came to us with their vehicles and passes to pick up the food. Later we got our own passes to transport the food to hospitals,” says Sethulakshmi.

The ECO Kitchen is an 18,000 sq. ft. the state-of-the-art facility in Injambakkam with a capacity to produce 30,000 meals per mealtime. The Kitchen utilises innovative, eco-conscious technology, including biomass briquettes, solar panels, a condensation recovery system, an expansive drainage system and a wastewater treatment plant that irrigates their garden. They have carefully crafted their production methodology to minimize the impact on the environment that leaves a small carbon footprint.

Contributions are gratefully accepted at bit.ly/ eco4covid19. All eligible donations made to the Foundation qualify for tax exemption u/s 80G.

AK Ganesh is the CPO of the YRG Foundation. ECO kitchen is a unit of the foundation. Sethulakshmi is the consultant at the YRG foundation. Visit www.ecokitchen.org for more.

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