The dabbawalas of Mumbai are admired world over for their flawless food delivery system and unmatched service. Recently, they added another feather to their cap when their ‘Roti Bank’ initiative, a waste management drive successfully saved a whopping ₹40 lakh worth of food from getting wasted.
According to a report from NTDV, the Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA) has tied up with several caterers, wedding planners, and food joints across Mumbai, and leftover food is collected by the staff who distribute it to the poor. Individuals who wish to donate food can do so as well. All you need to do is give them a call and the MDA staff will travel to the location, collect the food, check it’s hygiene levels and finally distribute it within 3-4 hours.
Speaking to NDTV, Subhash Talekar, the man behind the initiative says, “No one likes to have baasi khaana (stale food) and this is applicable to even the poor and needy. When our staff collects the food, they eat a small portion of it and only if it is in a good condition, then we distribute it. We make sure that the distribution takes place within 3-4 hours of a food donation request.”
The MDA, which drops and picks over two lakh tiffins every day, has 5,000 employees of which nearly 200 have fully committed themselves to running this initiative. As per reports, they feed around 300-400 homeless people on an average in a day.
Recently, the dabbawalas participated in a Mumbai Marathon to promote Roti Bank and urge people to reduce food wastage. The MDA also managed to collect 6 sacks of unused food packets during the marathon and distributed it across the city near hospitals, railway stations, religious institutions, etc. If people across the country followed the example of MDA, the number of homeless people who go to bed on an empty stomach would reduce drastically.