Valiyangadi, the biggest marketplace in Kozhikode, wears a deserted look on Sundays. But at 6.45 a.m., about 250 homeless people gather here for breakfast served by the volunteers of the ‘Theruvinte Makkal’ charity group.
It has only been a few months since the group started serving food to the homeless. “Initially there were only 30 to 40 people. But then word got around and now around 250 people come looking for us on Sunday mornings,” said Syed Abdul Afther, the secretary of the group. The activities of the group chaired by Muneer Munderi is coordinated through a WhatsApp group of 255 members. The members volunteer to fund a fixed number of packets of food, the production of which is outsourced.
Besides providing food, Theruvinte Makkal is also engaged in rehabilitating the homeless and helping some of them reunite with their families with the help of the Kozhikode Town Janamaitri Police. “These are mostly aged people who have left their homes due to various reasons. They often lack personal hygiene and are unrecognisable even for their nearest family. We get them cleaned and circulate their photographs in WhatsApp groups. People call even from foreign countries identify them,” said Mr. Afther. The group has so far helped rehabilitate five people. “The police helped contacting relatives or transferring some to government old age homes,” said Mr. Afther, who is also a Janamitri volunteer attached to the Town station.
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