BENGALURU: engaluru has earned the moniker 'Silicon Valley of India' for the growth of information technology, but the city still has a long way to go in eradicating hunger.
Al-Aman Educational and Welfare Trust, an NGO, has set up Ashiana Food Bank with a commitment to feeding the poor in the city.
How it works
The trust has employed three people to collect leftover food from restaurants, houses, corporate offices, marriage halls and even individual donors. A call to the Ashiana Food Bank office and a vehicle will be at your doorstep to collect the food. The food bank has also engaged services of cooks to prepare food daily which is then distributed. The cost for this is borne either by members of the trust or donors.
Along with distributing food among the poor, Ashiana also supplies food packets at the free dialysis facility at HBS hospital in the city. Over 100 food packets are distributed to patients and attendants daily.
“When I came to know about Ashiana Food Bank, I requested them to supply food to poor dialysis patients who are advised to eat nutritious food after the procedure,” says Dr Zafar, who is the head of the dialysis centre at HBS hospital.
“My 11-year-old son suffers from a renal ailment and requires three dialysis procedures a week. We come from Chikkaballapur to avail the free dialysis at HBS hospital. A single meal for both of us costs around `300,” says Fouzia.
Ashiana Food Bank also supplies food packets at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, subject to availability of food.
Nagraj, a farm labourer from Chamarajnagar district, was elated to receive food packets for himself and his son, who is being treated for liver cancer for the past eight months.
“Apart from the treatment, we have to spend on travel and accommodation in Bengaluru. Each penny is worth in times of crisis. Getting free food means saving some money on that particular day,” he says.
No waste of hotel food
The concept of a food bank came up when Al-Aman Educational and Welfare Trust set up a free medical camp in the slums of DJ Halli last year. Most adults and children attending the camp were severely malnourished. The doctors at the camp called on the organisers and informed them that the patients required high-calorie food more than medicines.
The scenes at the medical camp were disturbing for Mohammed Farooq, president of the trust, who was in the hotel business. He returned to work and realised large amounts of food went waste at his hotel. He collected the excess food and refrigerated it. The food was re-heated the next day and distributed in the slum.
“My aim is to provide at least two square meals a day to as many hungry and malnourished people as I can. When so much food is wasted in hotels and at weddings, why not use it to help the poor?” asks Farooq.
Ashiana Food Bank now has a refrigerator set up near Taj Hotel, Mosque Road in Fraser Town, stored with food packets. Those in need can walk in and pick up a packet, while those who want to donate food can leave a packet in the refrigerator between 10am and noon.