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Meet The Man Who Cooked For 1,70,000 People During The Chennai Floods

"The Chennai spirit kicked in."

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This is Santhosh Muruganantha of Kolapasi, a chain of food retail outlets based in Chennai. He is also one of the unsung heroes of the Chennai floods.

When the first wave of floods hit Chennai in November last year, someone ordered 5,000 food packets from Kolapasi as relief. This inspired Muruganantha as well.

Despite his own house and central kitchen getting flooded, he refused to back down, as he realised there were people in worse conditions, and they needed help.

While Muruganantha was setting up his kitchen, a Milaap page was set up to raise funds and create awareness about the initiative.

"All we had to do was gather some momentum and get this cooking out to a level where we could support a lot of people," said Muruganantha.
milaap.org

"All we had to do was gather some momentum and get this cooking out to a level where we could support a lot of people," said Muruganantha.

The first day was tough with only Muruganantha cooking, but slowly they gained momentum and managed to make 1,70,000 food boxes in four days.

They made upma, semiya payasam, and whatever else they could get their hands on.

They didn't just help with food. "A lot of people lost their house and belongings, so we realised they needed some basics. So we started packing some relief kits," he said.

They went into remote areas, 60-70 kilometers outside of Chennai, where the army or government wouldn't be able to provide relief.

"It was high time that people had to do something and that's when the Chennai spirit kicked in."

Everyone from college girls to big businessmen and even a 70-year old man helped in the kitchen, delivering packages, even washing utensils.

Santhosh Muruganantha thanked all the contributors of Milaap who succeeded in saving lives of thousands of people who may not have a chance of survival if it wasn't for them.

Ruchir Saraf, who documented the effort, told BuzzFeed he was “Amazed at how a seemingly ordinary person inspired and motivated hundreds to join his cause when the city of Chennai was dearly in need of heroes.”

View this video on YouTube

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