According to a study conducted in the year 2016 by the International Food Policy Research Institute, which has ranked India at 97th place globally in combatting hunger out of 118 countries. This means India is not completely hungry free and it has over the years failed to provide its people with that most basic of rights: freedom from hunger.
Some conscious people in our society in Chennai Sneha Mohandoss, a 23 year old communication student has initiated a project called Food Bank and is working successfully feeding those who don’t have anything to it.
In Kolkata recently in a bid to put an end to this problem, Sanjha Chulha, a popular restaurant chain has opened up a, ‘Food ATM’ to make sure that the poor people of the society do not go to bed without food. This ATM, is a small refrigerator which, from time to time is filled with food items by the restaurant authorities and is given away to people who can’t afford two square meals a day.
News Sense caught up with it’s manager, Mr. Surya Kanta Halder, as the owner Asif Ahmed was not around, who revealed to us the reason behind this noble initiative.
“The idea of Food Bank was initiated by the owner of Sanjha Chulha Mr. Asif Ahmed. He saw that the needy and the poor people outside the restaurant begging for food and money from our customers. Generally we have a lot of food as leftover at the end of the day mainly Biriyani and rice items.Yes, we never looked into this matter but then the owner came up with this concept of storing our leftover food and giving it to the needy. Alongside this, we have also requested our close and regular customers to contribute as well. Many have kitty-parties at home where there are leftover food which mainly go into the dustbins. Instead, we have asked them to contribute all of those to the Food ATM to help the needy. We try to distribute lunch and dinner everyday through this ATM.”
Also, whenever there is a shortage of left over food, the restaurant fills it up with khichdi, so that no one coming in search of food has to leave empty-handed. Aided by the citizens of Kolkata, this concept has become a huge hit. Lots of people from all walks of life contribute to this, ‘Food ATM’ with fruits, biscuits and other such snacks.
Perhaps this was something which was needed at this point of time. There have been many instances when we have wasted food and also have given it a thought to help the poor with the extra food on our plates. But courtesy this wonderful initiative by Sanjha Chulha, our ideas and thoughts of helping the poor with food have actually materialised into reality.
This, however isn’t the end of the story, the restaurant plans to open many such, ‘Food ATM’ in all it’s branches in the city after the Durga Puja’s.