One might be hard pressed to find an immediate answer to the question “What do San Francisco and Kathmandu have in common?” San Francisco sits in a bay and is surrounded water while landlocked Kathmandu is crested by the Himalayas. Yet despite the fact that these two cities lie more than 12,000 kms away from each other, hundreds of residents queue up in their respective city every Tuesday night to receive a free meal from Curry Without Worry.
It all started in late 2006 when Shrawan Nepali, a Nepali expat who was working in finance in the States, was confronted with the statistic that one in five adults in San Francisco go hungry every night. He decided to set up a free meal service and since then, Nepali (with the help of a team of volunteers) has been serving up homemade dishes at the UN Plaza every Tuesday—rain, hail or shine.
Nepali quickly set up an identical service in Kathmandu, dishing up healthy meals once a week to local street children as well the elderly and handicapped. Curry Without Worry serves approximately 250 meals in each city per week and has served up a whopping 96,400 meals total since setting up operation back in 2006. The mostly organic and vegan meals consist of nutritious Nepali staples such as Nine Bean Sprouted Bean Soup, Vegetable Curry, Whole Brown Rice with Peas, Nan Bread Puri and Tomato and Timmur Chutney.
Nepali, who grew up in an orphanage in Nepal, went to the States after members of the Peace Corps sponsored him to go to the US and study economics at a college in North Carolina. He has since remained in the States and in 2001, set up the Ama Foundation, a US-based non-profit which operates an orphanage in Kathmandu.
Despite the fact that Curry Without Worry was set up in direct response to statistics about hunger and poverty in San Francisco, Nepali welcomes people from all walks of life to the meal service, with cash-strapped students and travellers dining with the homeless and disenfranchised each week.
Curry Without Worry is proof that despite ideological, geographical and societal differences, there are fine threads which link us all together. The humble act of serving a meal to people in need is helping to bridge gaps on a local level and unite two seemingly opposing cities on a global level. The team operates on a donation and partnership basis. One to two US dollars can provide one meal for a person in San Francisco, while 50 cents is all that’s needed to feed one person in Kathmandu. Stop by their website or Facebook page to get the lowdown on what they do.
Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial