Feeding India: Not all heroes wear cape - Blogmantra


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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Feeding India: Not all heroes wear cape

Feeding India is a non-profit organization started by Ankit Kawatra and Srishti Jain in August 2014. The organization donates food, excess or fresh, all over India in around 60 cities.
Apart from feeding hunger, it eradicates another social problem through its effective work model, and that is food wastage. Feeding India distributes the surplus food meant to be dumped or thrown away, to the people in need.

Feeding India
Image Source: Google Images

The Inception

It all started with a simple thought. Ankit comes from a business family. One day he went to a big fat wedding. Right from the lavish buffet spread, the floral arrangements elevating the aesthetics of the evening to the studded celebrities who were invited, everything was exquisite. But something was not right, something made him upset.
In Ankit's own words:

There were 10,000 people and there was a lot of food. There were 37 cuisines! It is more like a carnival when you enter one of these weddings. I wondered what would happen to so much food, so I decided to stay back at this particular wedding and saw that heaps of leftover food was sent straight to the bin. It could have fed 5000 people just that night.

In the myriad of things, he was hit by the sight he witnessed, there was an urge that he felt inside. He realized that something needs to be done. And that's when he decided to choose the road less taken in order to avoid food wastage.

I thought, if it was not going to be me who solves this challenge, it was not going to be anyone else. There was no point waiting. At 23, I have the courage, I might not have the right experience to do it right away but I really needed to take up the cause [hunger] and start solving it. I just took the jump. I quit my job and started ‘Feeding India’.

Feeding India
Image Source: Feeding India

How do they do it?

Ankit shared his idea with his colleague from the company he worked in, Srishti Jain and they together began working on Feeding India. Both Srishti and Ankit quit their corporate jobs and took up the big challenge of solving hunger in India.
They began their journey with a fairly simple Facebook page and a handful of volunteers from Delhi University, or Hunger Heroes as they call them. Slowly people from different parts of the country joined Ankit and Srishti to carry their cause in their cities as well. Then they launched a helpline number, where people would call whenever they want to donate food which was actually the leftover from some party, wedding or ceremony.
But this wasn't enough. They needed a regular food supply. That is when they partnered with various restaurants and caterers who would give them leads to upcoming events in advance. At the end of the event, they would give Feeding India a call, informing about the amount of excess food. The nearest hunger hero group would reach the venue, collect the food and feed the hungry.
Srishti who also leads expansions and partnerships for Feeding India says:
In the beginning it was difficult for us to convince even one caterer to start donating their excess food to Feeding India. As a 21 year old female in India, many of these food donors would not take me seriously in the beginning. Slowly as we started raising more awareness about the cause, we noticed a change in the behavior of stakeholders who had been throwing away food since more than 5 decade

They have partnered with various NGOs and shelter homes called 'Rain Basera'. So whenever there is a call from an event, and they have an NGO next door that they have partnered with, they simply drop off the food at the NGO because finding hungry people at 1 am in the morning is not always feasible. This also helps them to cut off the transportation cost.

Image Source: Google Images

Feeding India Founder Ankit Kawatra
Image source: Google Images

Why Feeding India is different?

Feeding India does not create food rather it manages the surplus food. In Srishti's words:

The biggest issue with other organizations solving hunger is that they’re creating food rather than looking at the food that is already created. I once read in an article that allegedly stated that if only all the leftover food was given to the hungry in Mumbai, no one would be hungry. That struck me and stayed with me.

Feeding India believes in distributing meals and not just some ready-made supplementary packets.
Unlike other organizations that distribute Parle-G biscuits to the hungry and call it a meal, Feeding India doesn't do that.

Image Source: Feeding India

Where Feeding India stands today?

Started with a mere strength of 5 people in 2014, Feeding India stands proud and tall today with 8500 plus volunteers, functioning across 60 Indian cities serving 15 million meals to the vulnerable by rescuing the excess food. (Data as on 31 December 2017)

Talking about the recognition which Ankit received for his exceptional work as a person, he bagged Queens Young Leader Award 2017 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace, London.
Ankit Kawatra honoured with Queens Young Leaders Award from Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace
Image Source: Google Images
 Apart from this Ankit was selected as 1 of 17 Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals by United Nations from over 18,000 nominations from over 186 countries.
Ankit and Srishti were also featured in Forbes '30 under 30' Asia List 2017.

So young and energetic people like Ankit and Srishti inspire the youth of the country to become socially aware and they have made us proud at various moments. Kudos to them and their organization for working selflessly and making India better.

More: Read another article 'Facts About Farhan Akhtar you did not know'.

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