India, the second most populous country in the world, is home to almost 130 crore people. While in the last few decades the country has made significant strides in the field of technology and economic growth, poverty still remains a cause of concern. According to several surveys, it can be said that about 20% of India’s population are below poverty line. Poverty leads to under nutrition and food security by limiting poor people’s access to food. This is where a social enterprise named Feeding India fits in to meet the food needs of the poor.
Today, we are sharing their inspiring story.
We all know necessities give birth to new ideas and so is the story behind Feeding India. In a celebrity studded wedding Ankit Kawatra felt the necessity of a platform which will facilitate in feeding the poor. After the wedding function ended, he witnessed that lots of excess food were sent to the garbage which could have fed almost 5000 needy people! Soon after Ankit got in touch with several food vendors and caterers and was told that in most of the occasions, food get wasted. It was time when the ideas were needed to be converted into final actions. Ankit started working on creating a platform which will help in distributing the excess foods of events and functions to the ones who actually need them. With this idea Feeding India started its journey from August 2014.
The initiative kicked off with a facebook page and a 24 hour helpline number where people could inform about the source of excess food. Lots of support and phone calls started coming from various locations and Feeding India soon became popular. This was the time when the need for increasing the volunteer strength was felt to channelize larger volumes of excess food to greater section of poor people. To gain access to regular supply of food, the core team at Feeding India held talks with several catering companies and partnered with them. The idea was the catering companies would inform them about the excess food at different events so that the Hunger Heroes, i.e the volunteers of Feeding India can collect them for distribution to several NGOs and shelter homes.
“We have a very systematic approach which makes the entire process very simple and doable. People can call us anytime and we will be there to collect the food,” says Srishti Jain, one of the important core members of Feeding India.
There are certain challenges which Feeding India is currently facing. One of them is the financial support. So far, the NGO hasn’t received any major financial aid from external means and is presently being run with the help of the personal contribution from its members. In many cases while the caterers and the event organizers pay for the transportation costs, there are exceptions too. Also, there are certain other operating costs. Ankit Kawatra feels that the model is highly sustainable and financial support from the corporate and government bodies may take his dream to a bigger level.
Feeding India presently operates in most of the Indian cities with its strong network of more than 1000 Hunger Heroes. They firmly believe in eradicating Food Wastage and Hunger from our country. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.