In light of Global Youth Service Day, Mohaiminul Islam Riaz (YES 2009-2010, Bangladesh, hosted by AYUSA in Hanover, NH) collaborated with the association ELC Inspires, an English medium institution in Wari, Bangladesh to complete a "Leftover Food Rescue Project." The goal of the project was to provide food to hungry individuals within their community. The volunteers prioritized underprivileged youth who don't have a stable and reliable source of food.
ELC Inspires and Mohaiminul mobilized a team of 30 volunteers to visit hotels and restaurants in Wari, Tiaktuli, Najirabazar, Rayshabazar, Nababpur, Shat Roja, Bonghal, and Narinda. Volunteers explained the goal of their project and invited the restaurants and hotels to participate in the Food Rescue Project by donating leftover food. The groups visited over 50 restaurants with the hope that they would be able to secure leftover food that is still edible, nutritious, and filling, but for one reason or another cannot be sold. Food waste is common around the world – roughly one third (1/3) of the world's produced food is wasted.
For two days the group of 25 volunteers visited restaurants and hotels, and were able to collect 220 packets of food! They had expected to only receive leftovers, but some restaurants were generous and altruistic enough to cook fresh food to be distributed among needy populations. The group distributed 220 packets of food to the most vulnerable populations.
Mohaiminul explained that the highlight of the project for him was watching the ripple effect and sustainability of the project. Since volunteers first visited restaurants and described the need and significance of their contributions, restaurants have been in contact with the group of volunteers to continue to donate their leftover food. The volunteers are hoping that eventually this will become a self-sustaining model that will not require additional programmatic support. It shows that one small action and good deed can go a very long way!