Cherukumilli village of Akiveedu mandal is unique in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh as the village takes care of its senior citizens who are alone and without any support by providing them with two square meals a day.
People of the village, which has a population of about 4000, well settled in far off places like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam and the USA formed into a welfare association and launched a programme to feed lonely senior citizens in the village on August 26, 2007. They have been sending funds to the village to help feed the poor senior citizens of the village.
According to residents of the village Gadiraju Satyanarayana Raju and Datla Appalaraju of the village, the Kshatriya Seva Samiti sends meals carriage direct to homes of the aged by 10 am. The cooking begins at 5 am and will be through by 8 am. The menu is very impressive. It comprises a dal, curry, chutney, rasam and curd. In the afternoon, the cooking commences at 2 am so as to supply food carriage to the destitute by 6 pm.
The dinner menu comprises a curry, sambar and curd. Ever since the programme was launched in 2007, it went on without a break. The senior citizens, who are eagerly waiting to receive their lunch or dinner, are those who had toiled hard to bring up their wards. With age catching up with them, they were left unsupported.
Here is a woman called Satyavathi, who was widowed five years ago. Two of her daughters have been married off and living with their spouses. Her son is busy with agriculture work and not able to take care of her. The woman appearing so lean is Datla Rajeswari. Her two sons died at a young age. She has had a grandson who was living at a distant place. There is another woman called Chintala Annapurna, who find making both ends meet difficult, and widow Datla Sitamma, whom the seva samiti is providing food for the past 10 years without a break.
According to Naresh of the seva samiti, apart from feeding the senior citizens the association is extending financial support to poor students. The villagers pooled resources and laid a gravel road. The drainage system has been developed with the help of the charity of the employees from the village. The burial ground in the village is being groomed. A pucca building to house the panchayat village is being built. The village has been in the forefront of serving the people of the village without waiting for support from others.
Courtesy: The HansIndia