There are few experiences more painful than starvation. Many of us will thankfully never have to go through it but I can assure you from personal experience that it’s pure misery. What’s truly tragic is that it’s often a needless suffering. According to worldhunger.org there’s more than enough food produced on an annual basis to feed everyone on Earth. So what happens to the uneaten food? We throw it away.
So much of our quality food is thrown away that it’s estimated that in the US 25% of all calories intended for consumption are never actually eaten. Meanwhile 21,000 people die of starvation worldwide every day. It’s such a massive, problem that it seems impossible for any one person to make a difference. Thankfully, some people don’t let that stop them from trying.
Minu Pauline is one such person. She runs the restaurant Pappadavada in Kochi, India. One night while she was going about her usually routine she witnessed a homeless woman rooting through the garbage looking for something to eat. Apparently the woman was so hungry she couldn’t even sleep. This event so affected Minu that she vowed to do something about this problem in her own community.
Her solution was simple and elegant. Minu invested in a single refrigerator and put it outside of her restaurant. Anyone who wanted to could box their leftovers and place them in the cooler. Then anyone who couldn’t afford to buy food or clean water could come and take the leftovers for free. In this way much of Pappadavada’s wasted food can become new meals for underprivileged residents and not go to waste.
The experiment has become such a massive success that she has had to discourage customers from buying additional meals just to put in the refrigerator. According to Minu:
“Money is yours, but resources belong to society. That’s the message I want to send out. If you’re wasting your money, it’s your money, but you’re wasting the society’s resources.”
Here’s a short news story about the project. Unfortunately it’s not translated into English but I still think it’s worth watching just to see the refrigerator itself in action.
This just goes to show that innovative individuals can always find a way to make a difference.