Two months after No Food Waste (NFW), a home-grown NGO, launched its Chennai chapter, the group has collected and served food to nearly 3,000 people in the city. Started in Coimbatore in 2014, the project was launched in Chennai a year later only to close down.
In February this year, with the support of the Chennai Corporation, NFW’s food collection centre began functioning out of a corporation shelter in Zone 10 to serve the underprivileged and homeless in Nungambakkam, T Nagar, and Saidapet.
Using two vans donated by the Tamil Nadu food safety department, volunteers work through the day to connect food donors with those deprived of meals in different ‘hunger spots’ in the city.
Through NFW’s website and app, anyone can help locate a hunger spot – spaces where there are people who can’t afford meals such as orphanages, hospitals, shelters, slums, and pavements.
Once the pick-up request is received, a route for the driver is mapped. “We have three full-time volunteers who drive the van and deliver food at shelters, to homeless on the roads, and others identified at the hunger spots,” said Arun Kumar, coordinator of Chennai operations.
The response to the initiative has been overwhelming. “We get a number of requests from areas in north Chennai and around Vadapalani. For pick-up requests from areas beyond our reach or which seek to donate 50 plates of food or less, we inform them about the nearest place mapped as a hunger spot, so that they can drop the meals off directly,” added Arun.
The group is in talks with the civic body to roll out the scheme in other zones in the city limits. Anyone can donate food by calling 9087790877.
The NGO has also started a food and beverage ATMs in cities like Salem and Coimbatore and plans to extend them to Chennai.