Published: 01st June 2018
Lots of leftovers from a huge party you threw in Hyderabad? Just call Food Santa
Hyderabad, it's time to stop wasting excess food. But if you happen to find yourself in this unavoidable circumstance, call Food Santa
Raise your hand if you've ever thrown a party or organised an event for a huge crowd and for whatever reasons, have a lot of food leftover. How guilty do we feel when this happens? Next time, spare yourself the guilt trip and just call Food Santa, an initiative that ensures excess food finds its way to a hungry stomach rather than an overflowing dustbin. This was started by a team of four Hyderabadis — Gubba Prashanth, Rajyalakshmi Gubba, Hemang Momaya, Chandrashekhar Jain — to ensure that the needy and underprivileged feel like every day is Christmas, as long as there is excess food in the city.
The name Food Santa was suggested by Hemang Momaya's wife. Their official Facebook link is bit.ly/2LB5NZJ
When we meet the enthusiastic team, they tell us how it all started with Hemang, who runs Gaurav Caterers, thinking about how everyone always has one question to ask people who are in the catering business — What do you do with the excess food? Then Prashanth, who heads the technical department at Gubba Cold Storage Pvt Ltd, came up with the idea of Food Santa and the others were on board immediately. While Rajyalakshmi Gubba, who is Gubba Prashanth's wife, runs a boutique, Chandrasekhar Jain is into consulting.
Every grain should find a stomach and no one should go to sleep hungry
Gubba Prashanth, Co-founder, Food Santa
The principle they operate on is simple. Anyone who has excess food they'd like to donate can call Food Santa and a driver, who they have hired full-time, gets to the pick-up point in a Maruti Van with vessels (both of which have been donated to this initiative). The destination can be anywhere in Hyderabad — from Nallakunta to Manikonda, there are no area restrictions. But they do insist that the quantity of food should be sufficient for more than 100 people. But what about quality? Simple; they send a manager along with the driver, who inspects the food and makes sure it's consumable.
As Rajyalakshmi takes us through their first delivery, which was on May 11 this year, Chandrasekhar tells us about one of the challenges they could possibly face. "Given our current logistics, if the frequency of donations increases to four or five a day, it might get difficult," he says, but quickly states that they will hire additional vehicles and drivers if and when the need arises. A unique challenge that Prashanth highlights is that “for a few homes for the disabled, dinner is at 6.30, while for another ashram it is 7.30." To counter this, they are creating a list of such homes and ashrams with their specific mealtimes to improve efficiency and have decided that for the time being, they will be functional only from 9 am to 7 pm. But plans are on to work out something for the nights as well because, as Hemang puts it, "most of the leftovers come from parties that go on till 1.30 am."
When we point out that there are other similar services, Prashanth makes it clear that they aren't interested in competition. "There is enough excess food for all of us to distribute," he says
They say that the joy of giving is equal to the joy of receiving and Prashanth bore witness to them firsthand when he took his ten-year-old for two deliveries. The team collectively hopes that more and more people will experience this joy as well.
If you have excess leftovers, call 6302 778 770