Food is an important entity among the many festivities and celebrations that we indulge in. More often than not we find ourselves in fancy restaurants and high-end gastronomic pubs or social gatherings to enjoy a hearty meal, something not available even once a day to over 22% of Kolkatans living below poverty line.
Keeping this and the major issue of food wastage in mind, Sanjha Chulha, a famous restaurant chain in Kolkata, has set up Food ATMs outside two of its four outlets – CIT Road and Bypass.
This Food ATM was functional from 15th August this year, a day they pledged to have a hunger free Kolkata.
We caught up with Mr Suraj, unit manager, Sanjha Chulha to know more about the Food ATM of Kolkata.
Food ATM in Kolkata! Say what?
We request our guests not to throw away their food into dustbins but donate it instead. When there is leftover food, we pack them up, keep them in containers and put it into the Food ATM
How is a check kept on who takes how much from the Food ATM?
Initially we thought that we would make the needy take out the food from the Food ATM themselves, then we noticed that this was not working well as people were overindulging when not needed so at present we distribute food thrice a day.
How can others contribute to the Food ATM?
We have tied up with many societies who sponsor food to us. Even residents of the nearby area bring their leftover food in case they have a party at their home. We then distribute the food into containers and make it available to many needy people.
How is the response of the Food ATM?
During Pujas, we had tied up with about 16 Puja committees to sponsor food. On a daily basis we have approximately 50 needy people who come to our Food ATM. There is a mental satisfaction in doing something good for the needy, for this, our staff even work extra hours at times, on days when there is less food, we willingly distribute our staff food as well.
We request our guests not to throw away their food into dustbins but donate it instead
Diwali being a festival of light, sweets and sharing, why not take it as an opportunity to pledge today and everyday to reduce the amount of food wastage that we see around us and donate that food to the underprivileged instead.
Let us strike a balance between food wastage and social responsibility. Let us show the world that Kolkata lives up to its ‘City of Joy’ tag not only in words but in deeds as well.