Colleges in Delhi now have their own Robin Hoods. Nope, we aren’t referring to the Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The Robin Hood Army, a volunteer based organisation that collects and distributes leftover food among the needy, has started its college chapter in Delhi University (DU).
Runinng in Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) and DU’s North Campus, the college chapter is an initiative to spread awareness about food wastage among the college students while also helping the needy.
What do they do?
The college chapter of Robin Hood Army functions no differently from the main chapter. Rohit Khanduri, a team head of the college chapter, says, “Student volunteers collect leftover food from college canteens and restaurants and distribute it among the needy in the target areas. These areas include slums in areas such as Andrews Gunj and Jal Vihar, and people living under flyovers.
“There are about 38 volunteers from LSR, 30 from the North Campus chapter. The LSR volunteers fed 732 people and North Campus volunteers fed 500 people in their very first drive. We also have 85 volunteers on board from Jamia Millia Islamia who serve around 400 people on each drive.”
How do they do it?
Kartika Menon, a student volunteer from LSR, says, “The process involves pitching to college canteens and restaurants around college areas. Once these food joints agree to collaborate, the volunteers collect waste food from these places. Some restaurants even agree to make fresh food from leftover ingredients for us. The collected food is then distributed in target areas.
“Apart from food drives, we have also held ice cream drives and water drives wherein we have distributed ice creams and clean water among the people. There are certain limitations as food collection is not easy and we have to devote time to studies also, but we love doing this.”
Why a college chapter?
Talking about the initiative, Aarushi Batra, also a team head, says, “We realised that to mobilise people to think about food wastage and hunger problem, we need to mobilise the youth - which is mostly in college. If people are mindful of food wastage right from the beginning, hunger will not remain an issue for long. Also, this is a great way for them to get an insight into what life is like for the needy.”
Sonali Srivastava, a volunteer from Kirori Mal College, reiterates Batra’s words when she shares that the experience has been “wholesome and heartwarming”. She adds, “It’s an amazing feeling to be feeding the needy and bringing smiles on their faces. I am a paying guest myself and earlier when I would not like the food, I would throw it away. Now, not only am I more mindful of food wastage but I also ask other people to not waste it.”