Have Leftover Food After a Party? Call the Mumbai Dabbawalas and Feed the Poor.

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Mumbai’s dabbawalas have come up with an excellent plan to prevent the wastage of food at year-end parties in the city, or other social events and celebrations like wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and more.

About 400 dabbawalas have started a ‘Roti Bank’ that will not only help reduce the wastage of food, but will also feed the poor and needy in Mumbai.


Flickr: Steve Evans/Flickr

For this, members of the biggest community of dabbawalas, the Mumbai Jevandabbe Vahatuk Mahamandal, have collaborated with 30 wedding planners and caterers. They have set up two helpline numbers on which these wedding planners, caterers and any other individual can call to schedule a pick-up of leftover food.

The numbers are +919867221310 and +918652760542.

Imagine you had a party at your place and there is a lot of leftover food that should not go to waste. Instead of throwing all of it away just because you don’t have the resources to reach out to those who need it, you can call these numbers and the nearest lunchbox delivery men will come over to collect it. The food will then be distributed among people living on the streets, those who sleep on pavements, people living in slums, etc.

“Why should be the food dumped in the bin when it can be shared with those who cannot afford one proper meal a day? We are known for quickly reaching a location and delivering lunch boxes. We want to use the same skills to help the poor,” Subhash Talekar, the dabbawala union’s spokesperson, told Mumbai Mirror. He added that the ‘Roti Bank’ will function on a no-profit, no-loss model.

These 400 dabbawalas will work after their shifts to make ‘Roti Bank’ a success.

“The caterers called us and said that lot of food gets wasted when big events are organised. So these left over can be packed and given to lunchbox delivery men who can take them to the poor. This is a social work,” said Talekar.

Mumbai’s dabbawalas have been working for decades, delivering food collected from homes of the customers to their offices, schools and other places, using a very complex yet efficient delivery mechanism. And now, they are all set to use their skills to help the underprivileged.

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