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No Food Waste NGO wants to banish hunger from city

Padmanaban Gopalan and his team launch a new app in Coimbatore on Friday, to collect excess food from weddings and parties and distribute it to the poor.- Photo: M. Periasamy

Padmanaban Gopalan and his team launch a new app in Coimbatore on Friday, to collect excess food from weddings and parties and distribute it to the poor.- Photo: M. Periasamy  

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On World Food Day, Padmanaban Gopalan, Coimbatore Penta Ladies Circle No.37, auto driver Rajasethumurali andother like-minded people came together to alleviate hunger in Coimbatore

Padmanaban Gopalan is like Robin Hood. The 22-year-old social entrepreneur, a student of Government College of Technology, has sparked off a movement in the city, called No Food Waste (NFW). His team is a 10-member brigade of agile youngsters, who zip around the city in their omni van. They hunt for marriage halls, homes and institutions that have excess food, which they collect and quickly dispatch to the poor and the needy.

Last year, his team was awarded the 1000 dollar grant in appreciation for his work by The Pollination Project, California. Now, they have expanded their initiative to three more cities – Salem, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri.

On the occasion of World Food Day, Padmanaban and his team have come up with a No Food Waste app. People can use it to alert his team about food they may want to give away.

The idea to start this app came to him when at an awareness lecture at a school, an 8-year-old asked him a simple question: “How do I give away the excess food?”

Practical solution

Padmanaban realised that he had to give the problem a practical solution. It should be as easy as booking a cab. That is when the idea of an app came up. “Send a message through an app and a volunteer will come and pick up your packet of food.”

His model also envisions an idea called AWADIT. It is a word he came up with that bridges the concept of awareness along with auditing of food waste. “When I do an awareness campaign in school, I pick five students and entrust them with the task of keeping track of how much food they wasted. This method is very effective.” In one of the school, the team succeeded in reducing wastage of nearly 18 kilos of food.

He has also come with the concept of Cloud Call Centre/ IVR (Instant Voice Recorder) helpline, in which Coimbatore Salem, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri will be linked through a common number using a virtual system. “So, a person from Salem can contact our team through this common number. This way you do not need additional manpower. That will help us in cost-cutting, too.”

Even as a college student Padmanaban always brimmed with creative ideas. One of them was NFW and he says, “It has become something dear and close to my heart.”

If you want to start an NFW chapter in any other city, contact the team on 90877-90877.



The idea to start

this app came to Padmanaban when at an awareness lecture at a school, an 8-year-old asked him a simple question: “How do I give away the excess food?”



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Printable version | Jun 24, 2018 1:37:48 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/no-food-waste-ngo-wants-to-banish-hunger-from-city/article7772287.ece