“I found it unacceptable that there are millions of people who die not because they were unable to find a cure to a rare disease, but because they could not find a plate of proper nutritious food,” Ankit Kawatra, the 25-year-old founder of Feeding India, told Yourstory.
According to the United Nations Development Program, up to 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted each year, as much as is consumed yearly in the whole of the UK. And at the same time India is one of the most undernourished countries of the world, home to one third of the world's undernourished children. Ankit started to become conscious about the amount of food waste that existed in India when he attended a wedding and witnessed huge amounts of leftovers being thrown away. He couldn't shake off the thought of so much food going to waste while so many were going hungry, and decided to take action.
He quit his job in a global business advisory firm and founded Feeding India in 2014. He started collaborating with restaurants and catering services to collect their leftovers, and maneged to convince five people from his network to volunteer to pick up and redistribute the food. Three years later, Feeding India counts on the help of around 4500 so-called "Hunger Heroes" who volunteer in over 57 Indian cities and have so far served 8.5 million meals to people in need.
An App to End Hunger and Malnutrition
The way the system works is fairly simple. After downloading the Feeding India app, restaurants, catering services, canteens, and also individuals can make a food donation request any time they have leftovers. This sends an alert to the Hunger Heroes, who pick up the food and take it to a donation shelter where it reaches the people in need: mainly children, the elderly and the specially-abled.
The young social entrepreneur behind Feeding India, who is a United Nations Young Leader for the SDGs, believes that it is possible to put an end to hunger, and it's his wish to achieve the #ZeroHunger goal during his lifetime. His goal for 2020? To have served 100 million meals.
To see Feeding India's founder talk more about the issue of food waste in India and how his social enterprise got started, check out the talk below.