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School-goers Establish ‘Food Bank ATM’ in Indore for Those in Need

Indore: A group of school-goers have established a “food bank ATM” in Indore’s Palasia area where the food is stored in a refrigerator. While there are NGOs taking care of excess food at hotels and restaurants, this “food ATM” has been designed to facilitate individual needs.

The ATM or the refrigerator is used to store donated eatables, which are then given to those in need. The project is a brainchild of Hardik Kataria and five of his friends, all class 11 students.

“I celebrated my birthday on March 16; we ate at a hotel and we were left with a lot of food,” Hardik said.

Kataria got the food packed so that he could give it to somebody in need, but couldn’t find anyone late night. Resultantly, the food went waste. “My friends and I sat together and thought about a place where we could keep the food and neither the donor nor the benefactor had to wait,” Kataria explained, adding that it was then they thought of a “food ATM”.

The group quickly pooled money to buy a refrigerator, kept it in Palasia. The “food ATM” is manned by two security guards throughout the day. The guards who work for the commercial complex agreed to guard the food in lieu of a nominal remuneration, he said.

“Everyday, at least, 20-25 people donate the eatables and we have 30 to 35 people who come for food daily,” said Hardik.

The instructions written on the refrigerator make it amply clear that the food has to be of good quality and shouldn’t be leftover food. However, only vegetarian food is allowed in the food bank ATM.

The quality of the food is diligently checked before being kept and given out. Disposable plates and packets are also kept outside to avoid any hassle.

The group now plans to encourage housing societies to get involved in this initiative.

“A big housing society could generate the excess food, could afford a fridge and power connection and normally has a security guard to take care of the food ATM,” Hardik said, adding that he plans to launch a programme through which youth will be able to join the social cause.

First Published: May 8, 2017, 6:01 PM IST