Many of us, who eat out regularly, are aware of the daily problem of what to do with the leftover restaurant food. Typically, restaurants over prepare certain items that are on the specials menu and other popular dishes so that their customers are well-taken care of. Luckily, there are many people coming up with new ways to assist restaurants and grocery stores in dealing with their extra or leftover food. There is even an app for that. The use of modern day technology has made it easy to connect and coordinate, making food accessible to the needy.
Mobile apps can be used to arrange food for the needy via pickup at the restaurants or stores, and the designated volunteers can go and pick up the extra or leftover items. These items are then taken to the food banks or soup kitchens to help those less fortunate and to provide a nourishing and delicious meal for the poor and needy.
Through a mobile app and website, Feeding Forward allows vendors, event planners, and restaurants with extra food to just tap the app and then a volunteer is dispatched to the location. Due to the ease of the app and the dedication of Komal Ahmad, the organisation Recovering Food can supply food for around 4,279 people at eight different shelters, thereby reducing food waste. Also, Ahmad estimates that 5 million tons of food stays out of landfills each year and is instead given to the needy.
Several successful entrepreneurs add on to their success by helping the needy, with the mere click of an app. There is much to be said about the ability of one person who cares enough to help out another who is in need. Of course, making such food arrangements for the needy, on a wider scale needs funding as it costs the restaurants and the food stores a substantial amount to box the food and make it viable for transport.
They cannot afford to do this on a regular basis, and as a result any such program could come to a halt. Except that people, like Ahmad and Pajak, have been seeking funds to support the restaurants by providing them reimbursement for the costs incurred while packaging and safely transferring the food. The drivers who deliver the food are volunteers, and they are happy to be contributing by reducing food waste and making food arrangements for the needy. Several times, the drivers themselves get their free meals from the donated food. So, it is a win-win situation for them.
Reducing food waste is a global problem. Landfills receive millions of pounds of leftover restaurant food worldwide that does not get eaten, while elsewhere people go to their beds hungry. The efforts of young entrepreneurs are promising and will result in reducing food wastage. Check in your neighbourhood to see if giving away leftover food is only an app away and consider donating to the crowdfunding pages of those who are making food arrangements for the needy such as Pratik Agarwal, Komal Ahmad and many others.
Crowdfunding website Ketto has been allowing many such organizations to raise funds and support their projects. Projects such as The Magic Truck, Janta Meals, and Uday Foundation are dedicating their time to ensuring that everyone has access to nutrition and affordable/ free food.
‘Feeding India’ is a not-for-profit social enterprise that seeks a resolution to two main problems of hunger and food wastage. As a part of its Magic truck initiative, the organization collects the leftover food from corporate offices and restaurants and uses it to provide meals to the poor. The crowdfunding page for the Magic Truck has raised ₹2,14,014 ($3,331.09) so far through 104 supporters. The Magic Truck provides meals consisting of one dal, 1 vegetable along with chappatis, rice and some dessert to the poor. Through their crowdfunding page on Ketto.org they aim to raise enough money to provide nutritious meals to 1000 people, twice a day.
Janta Meals is a chain of food outlets located in slum areas that provides hygienically prepared wholesome food at affordable rates. The service involves community-based franchises that cater to urban migrant labourers including cycle rickshaw drivers, sweepers, mechanics, vegetable sellers etc.
Janta Meals also promotes entrepreneurship as these individual franchises are operated by micro-entrepreneurs, who are given an initial loan to help setup their food outlet. They are also provided with subsidized food that they then sell to the customers. Currently, there are 23 such outlets in Gurgaon, serving meals to around 4,500 people every day. Janta Meals has raised ₹2,10,200 ($3,271.72) through their 51 supporters via their crowdfunding online page on Ketto.org.
The Uday Foundation has so far managed to raise ₹1,17,103 ($1,822.69) through their 37 supporters via their crowdfunding page on Ketto.org. The Uday Foundation provides food to underprivileged patients and their families or caretakers at government hospitals who cannot afford both medical bills and food. The organization also provides good, nutritious food to children from poor families who come to Delhi for longer treatment.
Keywords: leftover food, restaurants, food stores, food arrangement for reduced, leftover restaurant food, reducing food waste.