A woman saw hungry people digging in her restaurant's trash, so she put a fridge outside.

On her late night walks home from cleaning her new restaurant, Minu Pauline was struck by how often she'd see homeless and hungry people searching her garbage for a meal.

Photo by Minu Pauline/Facebook. Used with permission.


"I have seen so many people ... taking food from the trash bin, so it was a shocking thing for me," Pauline told Upworthy.

It forced Pauline — who left her bank job to open Pappadavada in her hometown of Kochi, India, in 2013 — to think about how much food she herself threw out, not only from her restaurant, but also in her daily life.

"So many people are wasting so much food and someone is taking that food from the same trash," she said.

Three years later, Pauline opened a second location of her restaurant with one major addition: She put a fully functional refrigerator out front, and stocked it with food.

Photo by Minu Pauline/Facebook. Used with permission.

Pauline, her customers, and others from the community, leave their leftovers, marked with the date, inside and homeless and hungry people can take whatever they need at any time of day.

Pauline nicknamed the fridge "nanma maram," which means "tree of goodness" or "virtue tree." The fridge is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The refrigerator stays unlocked, allowing hungry people to take what they need without the shame of having to beg.

"They don't have to ask anybody," Pauline explained.

How much food do we waste? A lot.

Food waste is a global problem. Above, people pick through a dumpster in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo by Sven Nackstrand/Getty Images.

According to the UN Environment Programme, roughly 33% of all food produced for human consumption worldwide is ultimately lost or wasted. A staggering 40% of food in India perishes before it can be consumed, while the U.S. wastes a similarly eye-popping 30%.

Pauline asks people not to purchase food specifically for the refrigerator and to only give what would otherwise go to waste.

Pauline said the fridge has been a huge hit so far and many in her local area have already started contributing their leftovers.

According to Pauline, people stock between 200 and 300 packets (or portions) of food per day in the fridge and, typically, whatever is there in the morning is gone by the evening.

Rather than give to charity, she explained that setting up the fridge was a chance for her to give back the way she knows best.

Food for sale at Pappadavada. Photo by Minu Pauline/Facebook. Used with permission.

While Pauline knows her small outdoor fridge won't solve world hunger overnight, she believes it can make a huge difference for a few in need, while combatting waste at the same time.

In the meantime, her message to her customers is simple:

"What I say is that, 'If you have extra food at home, or if you eat out and you find that you have extra food, come and drop it in this refrigerator," Pauline said.

More
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Many of us are too young to remember the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986, much less any details about it. But thanks to a viral Facebook post from Misfit History, some attention is being shed on an incredible heroine who saved many American lives in the standoff.

The post reads:

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Newsy People / Twitter

The internet was ablaze after notoriously private actor Keanu Reeves, 55, walked the red carpet at the LACMA Art + Film Gala on Saturday with his new girlfriend, artist Alexandra Grant, 46.

It was refreshing to see a man in Hollywood dating a woman who's age-appropriate. Older actors are notorious for being with women half their age.

Keep Reading Show less
popular