Friday, February 12, 2016

END FOOD WASTE & HUNGER!


Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consum- ption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted. - Food and Agriculture Organization

·  Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons)- Food and Agriculture Organization

 Food is a basic necessity for all humans. Still millions of people in the world go to sleep hungry, yet another million waste their food! The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic under nourishment in 2014-2016. In 2014, India was ranked 55 in the global Hunger Index out of 76 nations. It made some progress from previous 63rd position but the hunger status remains classifies as ‘serious’. Public health foundation of India estimates that India is home to a third of the world’s stunted children.  It’s an irony that in the same India upto 40% of food produced is wasted (UNDP) and about 50% of all food across the world meets the same fate.

The twin problems of hunger and food waste resonate across the globe. One in seven Americans lack reliable access to food, and an extra 15 percent in saved food could feed over 25 million Americans (NRDC).Recently French national assembly voted unanimously to pass legislation that prevents supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must donate it to charities.

In Pune, 30% population live in slums, many of whom are pavement dwellers. There are thousands of people who struggle to get 1 day meal and there are tonnes of leftover food from hotels, marriages, events etc. 
Excess food from many such events or hotels goes waste because people don’t know what to do with it. Pune has organizations like Robinhood Army and Feeding India that collects your excess food and distribute it to needy.

Robin Hood Army is a volunteer based organisation that works to get surplus food from restaurants/ events to the less fortunate sections of society in cities. Pune’s RHA chapter is very active. Currently they have 3 food distribution drives every week- Fridays at Akurdi area, Saturdays at Deccan area and Sundays at camp. The volunteers can help with  a) Approaching Restaurants/Hotels/Caterers to explain about RHA and get them on board b) Scouting new areas for food distribution c) Collecting food from the restaurants and distributing this food among the hungry and less fortunate during distribution drives. I have been to the Deccan drive. Volunteers meet at 6.30pm infront of Congress Bhavan and from there they proceed to the pavement dwellers with food. There are lot of youngsters contributing their time and energy for this. It is wonderful to see how the kids on pavements gets excited seeing us. We talk, interact and distribute food. After one area is covered, we move to the next area. The drive gets over at around 8 pm.  RHA also collects excess food from events, ceremonies etc. and distribute it. 

Robins at work - Feeding millions
So if you or your friends ever have excess food do contact them. Also be a volunteer by registering in the website or come for a drive and get to know the work more. 
Robinhood army:
http://robinhoodarmy.com/
http://facebook.com/RobinHoodArmy
In Pune (if you have excess food) - Contact Mr Rathi - 09422987508
Feeding India:

Helpline number: 098711 78810

https://www.facebook.com/feedingindia1

PS:  Recently I went for an event where there was plenty of food with variety of options. We were in no hurry and there was ample food for all. After 2 serves I was full, but again I filled my plate thinking I can finish it but at the end , I just had a single spoon rice from it and rest of my filled plate was left untouched. I turned around and saw  the same left over food plates..Then I realized it’s the attitude that needs change. Wasting is a habit which needs to be changed consciously !
I have pledged never to waste food again! I will Think before filling my plate, Eat and Save!

Anu Kuncheria
anukuncheria@gmail.com