Padmanaban A Goplan from Coimbatore is on a mission to stop the large amounts of food waste in functions, get togethers, schools, hotels etc. What he does is simple; he collects the food wasted from such events and distributes it to the hungry. For this purpose, he launched a helpline which is currently working in Tirupur and Coimbatore.
His social work started when he is in graduation itself. After graduation, in 2014, he along with a few friends set up S.P.I.C.E (Society Promoting Innovation Creativity & Entrepreneurship). He interacted with many school students and noticed that students waste a lot of food in Tiffin boxes, in hostels etc. All these food are being thrown into dustbins. Then struck this idea of “No Food Waste”.
On world food day, Oct 16, 2014, he started nofoodwaste.in . He devised the plan of “zero food waste campus” and started educating the school children and managements about the same initiative. Wherever he went, he asked them to inform him about excess food/leftover food. He used to collect the excess food and pack them and distribute them among poor people, ashrams, orphanages etc. He visited more than 100 schools to date and conducted food audits and educating school children not to waste food.
Once the campaign got movement, hotel owners, caterers of the functions where getting in touch with padmanaban regularly. They used to call him whenever food is left over. He would come up with his volunteers and pick the food, pack it and distribute them to the needy. Padmanaban Gopalan’s vision for 2015 is an India with zero food wastage. He wants to set up ‘Last minute shops’, where people who have excess food in their homes can sell it. He launched a No food waste app which is GPS location based app where people post the excess food availability. Volunteers will get the information and visit the place to collect the food. This app initiative is unique and innovative which has a good potential and can solve the food waste problem in the country.
He was awarded with International Visionary award by The Pollination project , California USA. They provide a grant of 1000 $ for initiatives with social responsibility. Padmanaban says he would use the fund to expand his operations to other cities.
His advice to people is.
- There is only so much one can eat, so buy just what you require.
- Look around your locality and share excess food with those who need it.
- If you think you cannot use up food that is approaching its expiry date in time, give it to someone who will.
- If you are eating out and there are leftovers, pack it up and give it to someone who is hungry
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