Three young boys from Coimbatore have just won an international grant for their project, No Food Waste, which focuses on collecting excess food from events and parties and then distributing among the needy. Here’s more.
In India, over 214 million citizens struggle with hunger, in spite of huge quantities of food being thrown away at various events like weddings and parties.
While many of us still wonder about what can be the solution for this problem, three young boys in Coimbatore have come up with an interesting idea to address the issue.
Meet Padmanaban Gopalan and his two friends, Sudhakar and Dinesh, who started an initiative called No Food Waste. They collect excess food from events like weddings and parties and then distribute it among the hungry in Coimbatore.
“One day a gaunt elderly lady, emaciated to the bones in a torn saree, approached me for alms, just as I left a wedding reception hall where food was carelessly discarded on used plates simply because the guests could not finish. I couldn’t stand by and watch anymore. I had to do something about it,” says Padmanabhan.
Photo: Pollination Project
Padmanabhan and his friends runs a volunteer-staffed hotline for wedding, banquet, and school organizers, who wish to donate their excess food to the needy.
This effort by the trio has now also received support from a US Based NGO, Pollination Project, who have selected No Food Waste as the best initiative among many others nominated from across the world. The team got a $1000 grant from the NGO to work further on the project. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
The winning organization was finalised based on public voting, out of the 150 applicants that the NGO received.
The voting closed on July 17 and No Food Waste won by a margin of 4,000 votes. Generally, winners are chosen after scrutinising the project, but because it was the 1,000th grant, the NGO authorities planned to launch a public voting system.
Prior to this, the team used to spend money out of their own pockets to package the food and deliver it. They tried to contact many sponsors, but no one took them seriously.
To date, the team has donated about 5,100 excess meals to families and individuals. Padmanabhan now wants to expand this initiative to five nearby cities, with an aim of feeding over 5,000 people every month.
Padmanabhan is also planning to launch a mobile application that will enable people to locate areas where extra food can be donated. To spread the word about the initiative, he also visits schools to conduct No Food Waste audits and spread awareness about the cause. He has already helped over 60 local schools in reducing their food waste.
Kudos to the trio for addressing a big issue in such an amazing way, and congratulations for a much deserved victory.