November 28, 2016
Thanjavur: Those walking on the Anna Salai Road, near the old bus stand here, in the morning hours cannot miss noticing the benevolent service of volunteers serving porridge to patients and their attendants near the entrance of Raja Mirasdar Government Hospital (RMGH).
“We serve porridge in front of RMGH and also in front of Thanjavur Medical College Hospital (TMCH) every morning, expect on Sundays,” said B Thambiah, the Trustee of Arutperunjothi Trust, which offers the free porridge to patients, attendants and others.
“The rich and educated get treated at private hospitals, while only the poor patients from hamlets and villages always get admitted to government hospitals. And they cannot afford even to buy idlis for their breakfast. Keeping this in mind, we started this service on December 11, last year,” Thambiah said.
Guru Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal of Ongarakudil in Thuraiyur encouraged the trust to engage in such social activities. Mostly attendants of patients and sometimes the passers-by also get the rice porridge, he added.
The porridge is prepared with rice, pepper, garlic and other herbal ingredients, a healthy mix ideally suited to patients, and is served to at least 1,200 persons at both hospitals each day. The porridge made at the modern, hygienic kitchen, erected at a cost of Rs 4 lakh and located at Agathiyar Aalayam in Pasu Nagar in Maathaakkottai Road, is transported in 14 cans each with a capacity of 40 litres.
The doctors at the two hospitals tasted the porridge and allowed the trust to distribute the porridge at the gate, as hospital rules do not permit distribution of food in the premises. “If we were allowed inside the hospital, we could deliver it to the patients at their bedside” says Thambiah.
The trust spends around Rs 6,000 every day on offering this free service. Besides, the trust has been also offering free food to around 300 destitute persons at noon every day near the world renowned Big Temple, Thanjavur, from April 14, 2000 without a break. Come rain or shine, the vehicle of the trust can be seen at the western entrance of Thilagar Thidal, near the Big Temple, exactly at noon with volunteers distributing the food every day, even on Sundays.
For the funds, the trust depends on philanthropists and the followers of the ideals of Vallalar, the saint-poet-social reformer, who preached and practiced offering free food to the hungry. Arutperunjothi Trust can be contacted at 94433 75533.