Food for thought: A novel meal scheme! – The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

VILLUPURAM: For decades, noon meals provided in schools of the State kept thousands of children away from starvation and malnutrition. However, with the pandemic shutting down schools, hunger has once again become a stark reality for many kids. Now, a school in Tindivanam, has come out with a novel idea to provide kids their noon meals without having to open their campus – setting up temporary food centres close to children’s homes.

Since Wednesday, about 150 students studying in Thai Tamizh Palli, a school run by activists and social workers at Roshanai, have been fed a nutritious meal that includes egg, to compensate for the lack of healthy food during the lockdown. At least 86 per cent of the students hail from families of daily wage workers, with several parents working as conservancy workers, R Murugappan, an organiser and trustee member of the school, told TNIE.

“It is not a surprise that these children go hungry as their parents won’t make enough money during the pandemic. That is why this scheme was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister K Kamarajar, who introduced the noon meal scheme.” Murugappan further added: “Due to lockdown, we weren’t able to open the school to provide lunch for the children. So we decided to create temporary meal centres at roughly 11 houses in different areas in Roshanai, with a maximum of 15 students dining in each centre. Two batches of eight students will have lunch, maintaining five-feet distance.

Masks are provided for all. Sanitizer is also sprayed during entry and exit. Further, we also spray disinfectants at the houses of children to ensure they’re protected.” S Radha, head of the parents’ association at Thai Tamizh school, said that the parents were reluctant at first. “But school authorities followed stringent measures to keep children safe. The children are now having a healthy noon meal, despite most parents unable to earn during the lockdown.” K Ragavi of Class XI said, “Both my parents go to work and the food provided by the school is helpful because there is no one to cook for us.

We had vegetables with tamarind rice and egg. My sister K Rashika and I can now have our noon meal provided by school teachers near our home.” The food on Thursday was sponsored by an alumna of the school, K P Akila, who is now an Assistant Engineer at the State Public Works Department in Chennai.

Source: Thanks https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2020/jul/19/food-for-thought-a-novel-meal-scheme-2171746.html