Food safety authorities join hands with hoteliers, marriage hall owners and party organisers to donate excess food

Old age homes, orphanages and homeless persons and families in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur districts will soon get free food that has been wasted at hotels, restaurants and marriage and party halls.

Food safety authorities have joined hands with hoteliers, marriage hall owners and party organisers to deliver excess food to the needy. As the first step, Vellore Collector P. Kumaravel Pandian has launched a helpline (893135000) at the Collectorate through which those who wish to hand over excess food can inform the network. The help-desk will seek details such as the type of cuisine, when the food was cooked and the quantity. One can also inform the help-desk about those who are in need of food. Similar helplines will be created in the other three districts. “We have also created a WhatsApp group connecting officials, hoteliers, marriage hall owners and others to channelize the excess food to the needy. The Collectors will monitor the group and its activities,” said V. Senthil Kumar, Designated Officer, Food Safety Department (Vellore, Ranipet and Tirupattur).

At present, around four tonnes of food is being wasted at marriages, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, alumni meetings and temple festivals. Together, these districts have a total of 842 hotels, with Vellore having the highest of 262, followed by Tiruvannamalai with 250. Around 600 marriage and party halls are located in these four districts. Prior to the lockdown restrictions when a maximum of 100 persons were allowed to attend marriages, each of these districts had at least 70 marriage functions, 140 birthday celebrations, get-togethers and temple festivals every year. “We will provide free transport for delivery of excess food to the needy…,” said M. Venkeda Subbu, president, Tamil Nadu Hotels Association. These districts have a total of old age homes (270), orphanages (182) and more than 4,000 homeless persons and families. They depend mainly on donations and charities from philanthropists at places of worship and from NGOs. Officials say most of the excess food at hotels and marriage functions is wasted. To prevent such wastage, food safety officers have identified NGOs and welfare organisations to channelise the excess food to the old age homes and the orphanages.

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