Sidaarth Santhosh, Nikhil Deepak, Varun Durai, Saurav Sanjeev, and Kushagra Sethi are students of class 12 at The Amaatra Academy in Bengaluru. Usually, this is the time of the year when most students cut off all other activities to focus on their academics.
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But not these boys. In addition to their studies, they have saved 800 kg of food from going to waste.
Speaking to The Better India, Sidaarth elaborates their initiative, ‘Waste Nought’. “Fresh food is prepared in our school each day, and more often than not, a substantial quantity goes to waste, since not all of it is consumed. The five of us saw that so much food was being wasted each day.”
They decided to do something about it.
Sidaarth continues, “We wanted to this food to be served to those who needed it the most, and so Waste Nought came into being.”
They first spoke with the mess in-charge, who needed no convincing.
Given the constraints of transporting cooked food, they decided that it had to be done within a small distance from the school. Then, they went about identifying where to send their food.
After several calls to NGOs and orphanages across the city, they found Sri Krishnashraya Educational Trust, in Battarahalli, Bengaluru. This orphanage houses 30 children, 27 boys, and three girls, between 5 and 18 years old. They figured that this was the right number of people and located at a distance that would make the most sense.
So, every Saturday, members of team Waste Nought pack up leftover food from the school canteen and take it to the orphanage.
Pushparaj, the Managing Trustee of this beneficiary home, says, “These boys have been coming to the home for more than a year now, and they bring so much joy and happiness to our children. In fact, the kids often anxiously await the basmati rice biryani and the occasional sweets.”
After an hour-long drive to the orphanage, is the food fresh for the children? Pushparaj answers, “Whatever is served to the children is first tasted by us. And when the weather is too hot, we request the boys to refrain from getting any curry (vegetables) that might spoil from the heat.”
Not stopping with their school and just one orphanage, this band of boys has started recruiting others who will be collecting from various canteens and hostels across the city and delivering it to orphanages and NGOs that will benefit from it.
Sidaarth mentions that the children are enthusiastic, both to see them and to have the food brought to them every weekend. “The satisfaction we get every week is irreplaceable. Nothing else comes close,” says Sidaarth. Pushparaj adds, “It’s something that the orphanage kids look forward to.”
A practical yet utilitarian approach of Waste Nought is particularly admirable. It is a stellar example of how there is never any age to help others. It is one meal, but it is invaluable to those who have been deprived of it.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)