The Leftover Cart: Feeding over 1k homeless in 7 days through restaurants’ leftovers
August 22, 2016
Our planet produces enough food to feed 7 billion people, but one in eight still goes hungry every night - causing the alarming situation of hunger deaths of the homeless. In India alone, 195 million people are struggling to arrange for a meal everyday. Even in the most developed cities of India, parents force street children to sniff glue, which helps them beat hunger pangs.
We know that an average of 30% food prepared in eateries goes waste - which is enough to feed one-third of the homeless. That’s when we saw an opportunity to help the ones in need.
We at Charity/Unwrapped wanted to make a change in people’s attitude towards food wastage and help the less fortunate - so we embarked on a journey from August 1st - 7th called the "No Hunger Week".
During the week, we introduced “The Leftover Cart”. A dedicated team of volunteers took the cart around some of the busiest hotspots in Delhi and approached all restaurants, cafes and bars to donate any leftover food that was stored in edible condition. We also campaigned to restaurant-goers in those areas to get their leftover food packed and donate it at the cart. We adhered to the policy of immediately distributing all the collected food to prevent any spoilage. Our distribution team collected the donations and fed the homeless in nearby areas.
For this campaign, we successfully partnered with 50 restaurants as Food Donors. We were keen in making sure that the generosity of our food donors was recognized. Hence, all the participating eateries were awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation and also mentioned on our social media platforms.
Due to all the support, we were successfully able to feed 1040 people from the food that would otherwise be wasted. The people we fed were living in the worst conditions, with no stability or hope for a better future.
“As a frequent restaurant-goer, I always wondered what measures were taken to deal with the leftovers by the end of the night. I always made it a point to get any leftover food on my table packed and hand it over to a homeless on my way back. Trust me, no matter what time of the night it is, you will always find someone with an empty stomach. That’s what triggered the idea to initiate this campaign. Pulling it off required a lot of work, but just seeing a person’s happiness when they were handed over a meal made it all worth it.” – Sonarika Mahajan, Founder, Charity/Unwrapped.
In the future, we plan to develop a long-term initiative by nurturing our partnerships with the restaurants that participated as food donors during the No Hunger Week. We also hope that people are sensitized about the issue and are doing their bit to support the ones in need.