Hunger heroes of Namma Bengaluru

feeding-india1Ipsita Kabiraj 
NSoJ Bureau
Ankit Khawatra’s opening lines at a recent TED EX talk in Chandigarh aimed at bridging the gap between the ever- growing problem of hunger in and excess food wastage in India. He is the founder of Feeding India, a not for profit social enterprise that aims to end hunger and malnutrition in India. Originally based in Delhi, the youth organization has now spread to 32 cities, including Bengaluru. The city chapter started in 2015 with eight members and ever since, they have grown into a community of over a hundred volunteers.  At first, the organization focused mostly on street donations (giving the extra food on signals and footpaths to beggars) and then gradually started tying up with restaurants and paying guest accommodations for excess food. They also collaborate with NGOs, orphanages, and shelter homes who want to donate surplus food. On an average day in Bengaluru, the food received can either feed 20-50 people if it’s a 4-course meal and 80-100 people if it is a 2-course meal.
“Our team comprises of Hunger Heroes and Super Heroes,” said Ankit Grover, city head of Feeding India, Bengaluru. “Hunger Heroes are the people who participate in pickup and donation of food. They are the backbone of our team. Super Heroes are the ones which are responsible for the growth and development of the Bangalore chapter. They hire new volunteers, tie up with restaurants and schools, and make us visible on social media platforms,” he added. The youth organization’s most frequent donation spot is BTM and Silk board. “People on the streets in these areas now identify us personally and we have sensed their delight and whenever they see us coming,” said Grover. Apart from hosting events on special occasions like Daan Utsav, Diwali, Christmas, and friendship’s day, ever since its conception they have been celebrating World Food Week in Bangalore where they donate food for a week. Before the start of this week, they make arrangements with restaurants and PGs to provide food for the entire week. Feeding India Bengaluru chapter was very active during the Chennai floods in 2015. “We initiated the Chennai Flood Relief operation and sent out trucks with food and supplies, with volunteers on-board. The volunteers stayed there for 3 days and ensured that the supplies reached the right hands,” added Grover.
Khawatra dreams big and aims to end hunger in India in his lifetime. At 22, he quit his corporate job and gave birth to the idea of Feeding India after he attended a big fat Indian wedding with 10.000 invitees and 35 cuisines. He began to think about the amount of food that would go to waste after the ceremony and hence came up with the idea of responsible consumption, production and waste management. Since they are not a non-governmental organization and are not funded from any source, it is a thankless job for Khawatra, his team and basically anyone who chooses to lend a hand.
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