“The concept of no food waste was imbibed into me by my family members. I remember being handed down this value system of ensuring that we only take whatever is required and leave the rest to people who might be able to use it later. This thought process had always travelled with me from those days wherein, everyday, whatever remained of our day’s meals we used to gather them in vessels and bring it to the orphanage near our house. Additionally, we used to gather rations from different members, collect them and donate it to shelters and orphanages around our place.
This continued for a long time and though I don’t remember a time when I didn’t participate in volunteering activities around my city, these took a back seat when I moved to Chennai for work. Even while I was busy with work, the feeling of not getting back to volunteering kept nagging me and that is when I came to know about this concept of making good use of the excess food waste. The idea of collecting excess food from different places and distributing it to homeless people sounded like a legit cause. The idea for this NGO was first started in Coimbatore but there was no such facility available in Chennai at that point in time. Since they were on the lookout for someone to handle the operations from Chennai, I took over the lead for the same and it’s been one amazing journey ever since.
Thus, I began to work with a network of volunteers who would come forward to collect excess food from parties and weddings and package it for distribution. The network began to grow as we started getting more calls and there was more awareness about this facility that was available in the city. With time, we began to have tie-ups with different restaurants and also other consumer brands who came forward to help us with a regular supply of food. We received our first van for distribution from an IAS official who, impressed with our cause, wanted to help us with something memorable and of use for us.
Today we stand strong with 11 full time employees and also a large network of volunteers who come forward to regularly help with distributing food for homeless people. Additionally, we have 7 vehicles and also a two wheeler that is employed full time for our work. And during the COVID period, we started a cloud kitchen in a 1200 square foot space to prepare and deliver food every single day and it’s been going on for a while now. I feel the concept of no food waste should spread far and wide to every nook and corner of the world. There is a huge deficit between the right resources and the right people and I hope, someday the gap will be bridged for good. The food that we have on our plate comes after so many individual’s hard work. Thus, let us all work towards ensuring that we don’t waste it so recklessly when there are so many people out there who would benefit greatly from that meal.
Let’s unite together to make a #PattnillaChennai (Hunger free Chennai)”