Friday, June 14, 2024
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Kudumbashree’s ‘Lunch Bell’ rings loud in Thiruvananthapuram

Girija A. packs a lunch box at the Lunch Bell kitchen at Parottukonam in the city.

Girija A. packs a lunch box at the Lunch Bell kitchen at Parottukonam in the city.

It’s around 9.45 a.m. on Saturday at Parottukonam in the city. In the kitchen of Shruti catering on Temple Road, lunch boxes, labelled vegetarian and non-vegetarian and stacked separately, await transportation to their destinations. Vijitra R. of Kattayikonam collects the lunch boxes for delivery to a salon at Kuravankonam, furnishing establishment at Ambalamukku, two residences in the Pattom area, and a couple of other places. After delivering these, Vijitra will be back at Parottukonam for picking up the remaining lunches. The deliveries are over by around 12.30 p.m. After 2 p.m., she will make the same rounds, this time to pick up the empty lunch boxes.

Around 150 lunch boxes are delivered by eight women, including Vijitra, on two-wheelers to offices and individuals in five pockets in the city — Medical College, Pattom, LMS, Statue, and Ayurveda College — every day except Sunday as part of Kudumbashree’s Lunch Bell initiative.

The Lunch Bell, the Kudumbashree’s latest venture in the food domain, has been ringing loud in the State capital. Since its launch on March 5, it has delivered over 1,500 lunches from 1,000 orders, with sales of ₹1.3 lakh. A chunk of the orders are from government offices such as the Secretariat, Vikas Bhavan, district panchayat office, and so on.

The Lunch Bell targets 1,000 orders per day. Shruti, which has been in the catering business for over 15 years, is equipped to cater to up to 500 orders. With an increase in orders, it can scale up kitchens and hire more delivery staff.

Girija A. runs Shruti from her new kitchen. With an experience of nearly two decades in this field, including running the University College canteen and other catering jobs, she had just realised her long-standing desire for a bigger kitchen when the Kudumbashree came looking for a facility to host the Lunch Bell kitchen. “Kudumbashree helped us with the food enterprise, and we built upon it. It was a tough journey, but rewarding. As more orders flow in, many other units are likely to join Lunch Bell so that they too can earn an income.”

Kudumbashree is eyeing at monthly orders. The app will have facility for this. It will also help the women delivering the lunches since they will mostly have regular customers. During this month, the first 50 orders placed on a day get a 20% discount.

Expansion plans

There are plans to expand the menu to include cut fruits for those who are on a diet and biryani. Enquiries for breakfast too are coming regularly, they say. Discussions with Technopark officials are under way to deliver food there. The District Collectorate will be added to the route soon.

After the capital city, there are plans to expand Lunch Bell initiative to other parts of the State too.

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