In Five years, Robin Hood Army now consists of 14,365 volunteers
“Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and terrorism combined. We are not short of food, but the distribution is not right,” RHA co-founder Neel Ghose said.
fed over 1.32 million people across 60+ cities
The group was started in 14 August 2014 with six Robins in Delhi who served about 150 people on their first night of food distribution. In five years, it now consists of 14365 volunteers who have served over 60,37,245 people.
Currently the organisation has tied up with multiple restaurants across the 60+ cities that provide them with food. The organisation does not accept monetary donations and only distributes the food or donations in kind that it receives from its restaurant partners and donors.
The RHA has some 69 chapters in as many cities in the Indian subcontinent. It started work in Pakistan in February 2015 with its first distribution in Karachi. It also has volunteers in Sri Lanka and other Asian countries, he said.
Mr Ghose thought of starting RHA when he heard about an organisation in Portugal called ‘Refood’ – which picked up and distributed restaurant surplus.
He talked about the initiative with its founder Hunter Halder, and then decided to launch a similar programme in India with partner Anand Sinha, who works for an e-commerce site. The third partner, Aarushi Batra, is in business.
“A particular city chapter gets in touch with restaurants and wedding caterers in an area. Robins keep in touch with those who are ready to donate food and collect it at the end of the day or the time of distribution,” Mr Ghose said.
The food is packed into meals and then distributed among the homeless and others who need food in or around that particular area, he said.
“There are some very helpful restaurants who don’t just package and give away excess food, but also donate freshly cooked food,” he added.
The group has also started Robin Hood Academy for underprivileged children
Mr Ghosh stressed surplus food could feed scores of people. “Once, we picked up excess food after getting a call from a wedding venue. With that, we were able to feed about 990 people,” he said.
With the help of the social media, a large number of people have joined the army in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, apart from India.
Though food is still its main area of concern, RHA takes up other initiatives and projects from time to time. It is now looking at ways to distribute clothes and help poor students.
RHA Chennai is crowd sourcing school bags from city schools for sending to a school in a remote village in Odisha, where a Robin is a teacher.
In Surat, classrooms are being built under a bridge from waste material for underprivileged children with the help of other organisations. In Hyderabad, they are building new toilets and renovating old one in schools.
“When northern Gujarat was hit by floods, two of our Robins travelled 1,100 kilometres after collecting 10,000 kilograms of food grains and 2,000 kilograms of clothes to help 39,000 people,” Mr Ghose said. The team bars anybody from collecting money in the name of the organisation.
“If anyone wants to donate funds, we ask them to buy blankets, clothes, school bags and asked them to help us distribute them instead,” Mr Ghose said.
RHA has also started Robin Hood Academy in 19 cities, where they teach slum children to help then join schools.
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Robin Hood Army Allahabad team pic.
posted by Ankur Singh.
Source by ndtv