Published: 22nd November 2019
This group in Coimbatore will get you to 'Sharingo' your surplus food to the needy
A group of 21-year-old friends started this surplus food management initiative which is slowly gaining popularity at Coimbatore. Do you have excess food that's going to waste?
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, about one-third of the food served is lost or wasted globally. Understanding this growing concern in a country where hunger is a raging issue in this day and age, this group of friends from Coimbatore decided to forego their job offers after college and started their surplus food management initiative, Sharingo in July this year.
All you need to do is share the details of your surplus food and location. Within a short amount of time, Sharingo's volunteer will reach your place, check the quality of the food and pack it up in a hygienic manner. The food is distributed to the nearest slum, hospitals, destitute people and so on. The donors are usually marriage halls, restaurants, bakeries and a few catering services in and around the city, according to the founders of Sharingo.
Volunteers of Sharingo distributing food to the needy (Pic: Sharingo)
The trio, Poongodi M, Sheriff S and Preethi E, were classmates at JCT College of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore and graduated in Food Technology. "We wanted to work in something related to the field of our graduation. We were equally concerned about palatable surplus food being wasted. That's when we decided to start this initiative," said Poongodi M, co-founder, Sharingo.
Being a student initiative, their initial investment was their pocket money. "We designed a digital brochure using Canva and promoted it online. Once we received a decent amount of response, we started to move around to collect the food using our second-hand moped which has a box attached. We took vessels from our home during our initial days. We started with an investment of Rs 15,000," laughs Sheriff S, co-founder.
Sharingo spreading smiles (Pic: Sharingo)
They take a set amount to collect the food to ensure their operations are sustainable, "Since we don't have anyone to support us financially, we have set a standard charge for collecting the food. The purpose of collecting this money is to meet with the expenses of office rent, volunteers' pay and transport," adds Poongodi. The pricing depends on the number of plates, and their service is available pretty much around the clock!
Explaining their mode of transportation, Sheriff shares that they have two TVS XL 100 mopeds which have a box attached. These two vehicles can hold food from 100 plates. "If we have more plates to be delivered, we hire truck taxis. This adds to our expenses," says Poongodi.
Sharingo's services are available round the clock (Pic: Sharingo)
The food is thoroughly checked before collection. However, to ensure their donor's trust, the youngsters have put into place a unique idea. "We take photos of the food and the donor before collection. Our volunteers will take photos while distributing the food to the needy. The photos are combined with a thanksgiving message and are sent to them at the earliest," says Poongodi with a smile. The food is served to the needy within 30 minutes of collection, she points out.
Reflecting on how things have taken off, Sheriff shares that they have received about 250 calls till date. "Our future prospect is to tie up with hotels and marriage halls, thus bringing together a zero food waste city. We are planning to set up collection centres soon in Chennai and Tirupur," concludes Sheriff.
If you have excess food, reach out to the Sharingo helpline number: 7209072080