Millions of people in India go to bed empty stomach in India and at the same time, tons of leftover food from restaurants, parties, and hotels are regularly dumped in the bin at the end of the day. Here comes ‘Roti Bank’ to the rescue.
‘Roti Bank’ is not a bank of rotis. It is an NGO to collect leftover food from different venues in Mumbai, India and distribute it to the poor before the food gets stale. It’s a simple and effective solution. A win-win.
‘Roti Bank’ is a brainchild of D Sivanandan, a retired IPS officer. The initiative was started in December last year and would not be possible without the collaboration with ‘Dabbawalas’. Nitin Khanapurkar, a London based businessman also helped by providing an all-time active helpline number for the initiative.
“Since legal issues restrict eateries from distributing the leftover food to outsiders, we thought of channelizing it through our NGO, and I am happy to say that our initiative of ‘Roti Bank’ has received an unprecedented response from various quarters,” Sivanandan said. “We are a food rescue organisation. We collect the leftover food from hotels and cafeterias and distribute it to the hungry people. It is a simple concept.”
Roti Bank is a food rescuer in a country where 180,000 tonnes of food goes to waste each day. The two GPRS-equipped vans run into the streets and slums to provide food for 75,000 poor people in Mumbai, generally within 60 to 90 minutes.
“We have reached out to nearly 75,000 needy people in the city so far. Wherever the van passes by, it brings hope among the hungry people and their feeling after getting food is undefinable,” said Maharashtra’s former Director General of Police, “our basic idea is to mitigate hunger of the needy people.”
Roti Bank’s staple food is not only roti but also rice, vegetables, and dals. Dabbawalas of Mumbai are helpful in reaching out to most needy people. Through dabbawalas, Roti Bank is able to provide for the poorest section of Mumbai.
Through a collaborative effort, anything can be achieved. Roti Bank is a fine example of this. Feeding the hungry not only helps to end world hunger but will also motivate poor to channelize their energy into their well being and coming out of poverty. Most of the children from poor families are made to leave school at an early stage and sent to work to earn enough money to feed the family. With that concern being taken care of, the children would not have to compromise their education. A small initiative can give birth to a chain of improvements, all we have to do is step-up.