How often have you been at wedding parties or big events where huge portions of food go unused or wasted? The conscientious among you would have been wishing there was some way to repurpose all that food. Kiran Sridhar, an Indian American teenager from California had similar thoughts, however, he actually did something about it.
Kiran would often volunteer with Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, which serves three meals daily to anyone in need. He felt overwhelmed by the long lines of homeless, poor and hungry people who would make their way to the church to get their meals. This prompted him to research the problem and he discovered that the issue was not really about food shortage, instead it was more about food distribution.
His solution was www.wastenofood.org, a free, web-based service that efficiently links food donors with charities that feed the hungry. He even was even successful at roping in his fellow students to become food donors. His solution won him The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes aged 8 to 18 years in October 2014. He was among the top 10 of 25 winners of the prize and awarded a $5,000 cash award to support his work.
Unilever recognised the value of his work and awarded him the Unilever Project Sunlight Grant to help him carry forward his mission. Kiran launched an app in January this year, available on iOS and Android, to support his website service. Users need to take a picture of the extra food or leftovers and upload it on the app just as we do with social media platforms. The post is then relayed to charities within a 20-mile radius where they can claim the meal. Once the app is launched he hopes one million meals can be redistributed through it. Kiran says,
It’s impossible when you see a line stretching around the block 3 times a day not to be touched, not to be moved, and not to think that in this society which is so advanced and so wealthy that we can’t take care of such a large percentage of our population and meet such a basic need: their need for food.”
Waste No Food is currently based in the U.S. and Kiran is the founder, executive director, president and secretary.