Kolkata gets first food ATM, as Samaritans pledge hunger free society

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Did you know that, the amount of food that Indians wastes, if utilized could feed a Egypt like nation for a year? And did you know that 194.6 million Indians go hungry every day. In fact according to Global Hunger Index, 2016, India has been marked as “serious” when it comes to national hunger levels.

A chance discussion on the topic of hunger, food wastage led four friends – Asif Ahmed, Prakash Nahata, Nirmal Bazaz and Rahul Agarwal, to set up food ATM, which aims at dishing out quality leftover food to the poor and the hungry.

“We had just watched a video on YouTube, of how a lady in South India had installed a refrigerator outside her house and was stocking it up for the needy. A discussion which followed made the four us to do something immediately. It’s our 70th year of Independence, and still millions go to bed without food, while on the other hand million tons of food is wasted by us. So, we decided to have a food storage refrigerator installed, which can be stocked up by us and those with surplus food for the hungry,” Ahmed told eNewsroom.

So, how does the atm work? How does a hungry get access to it? How is it refueled? “Well, it’s easy. If anyone has excess leftover, they can come and handover the food, which will be dispensed at the atm. We at this point are requesting donor to at least make packets of the leftovers, while donating. It’s easy to store and share. In the long run, we do aspire to have collectors, who could visit the donor’s place,” informed Rahul Agarwal.

The ATM, currently set up outside, CIT Road’s Sanjha Chulah, a famous Kolkata-based eatery is a proto-type, which is to be soon replicated in four other branches of it. Inaugurated on August 15, the ATM is being well appreciated by many.

“We have heard about a food ATM being installed in our vicinity. It’s a great move, we will also try to donate time to time left over as well as fresh meals to it,” said Shaheen Begum, a local resident.

Organisations like Rotary Renaissance, Round Table India, JITO and JIYO have volunteered to topping up the 300 litres refrigerator installed outside the restaurant for 3 months each. “We will also be motivating our customers and small eateries in the vicinity to contribute towards this cause,” added Ahmed.

Stocked with food, the ATM was launched at the “stroke of midnight” on August 15, with a pledge of making the neighbourhood hunger free and then the city and then the nation. Are you motivated enough to be part of the cause? If yes, feel free to leave decently packed leftovers for those in need. Be the change that you want to see.

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