What is just plain leftover for some could be a square meal for others. Vipasha Sinha on an initiative that takes leftover food to the needy
A call at 8.30 p.m. has Rahul reaching for a scribble pad and a pen. He takes down an address and disconnects, only to jab hurriedly at the keypad to make a call. A little later, a man lands up at the doorstep of a city restaurant to collect leftover food. Both Rahul and the unnamed gentleman are among a fifty-member volunteer force at ‘Wrap It. Don’t Waste Food’, which fights food wastage by encouraging restaurants and households to give away surplus food to the needy. ‘Wrap It. Don’t waste food’ is a campaign by ‘Reunite to Redefine India’, an NGO that figures in ACTION 2020, a development initiative whose Indian wing is spearheaded by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
“Our posters containing contact details are stuck in a slew of city neighbourhoods. If a restaurant or a household has surplus food, they can call us and our volunteers will collect and give it to the underprivileged,” says Ananth Krishnan, who conceptualised the campaign.
Once a volunteer receives a call, he consults the area head, who ensures someone reaches the restaurant or house at the right time. “We can be reached any time between 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and it is mandatory that we collect food within six hours of its preparation time. To make sure we deliver quality food, volunteers first taste it themselves before distribution,” says Ananth, a doctor by profession. “We have marked some places where we regularly distribute these food items. When the area head is alerted, he consults the volunteer living closest to the restaurant or the house and he or she usually reaches the spot in less than an hour,” he says. This campaign was launched six months ago in Chennai following its success in Coimbatore. We are working on launch ‘Wrap It. Don’t Waste food’ in Kolkata soon,” says Ananth. Those interested to volunteer can check their Facebook page - ‘Wrap It. Don’t waste food’.