ISLAMABAD: At one point or another, we have all wondered why do restaurants waste food? How the luxury is even justified, especially in a country where a vast section of public is striving to get sufficient meals a day.
To answer these questions, Zoone Hassan and her family came up with Thali — a non-profit organisation registered as a trust. It came into existence with the objective of feeding the less fortunate through meals the more fortunate take for granted.
Food, a basic human need, is denied to many and Thali intends to address that problem.
Hassan, the chief executive officer at Thali, told The Express Tribune that the organisation tries to reuse food to feed those in need. “We are a non-denominational food rescue charity. We collect excess fresh food that would otherwise be thrown away by corporate offices, restaurants, caterers and wedding halls.” she said.
She further mentioned that her family got the idea while having breakfast at a restaurant, particularly when one of the waiters told her father that all the leftovers have been thrown away. “This is precisely why we came up with the organisation. The concept is not just to feed the underprivileged but also to prevent food wastage,” she added.
Initially, Thali was getting donations from close friends and family.
“Even though the donations kept coming, restaurants and hotels would not understand our concept until this Ramazan when a close friend linked us with a leading restaurant in Islamabad. Once we had it on board, it was relatively easier to convince others and now leading restaurants are partnering with us. However, it is still unfortunate that hotels that serve buffets everyday and waste huge amounts of food are unable to understand what we do and join us in the noble cause,” Hassan mentioned.
The volunteers at Thali drop their boxes at restaurants in the evening and pick them up by 9:30pm, once the Iftaar buffets are over. The waiters fill the boxes with leftover food instead of throwing it.
The organisation currently has operations in Islamabad and Rawalpindi with an aim to spread to other cities in Pakistan, sustaining every man, woman and child neglected by society and eventually instating self-dependency to face life with full vigor.
The most interesting aspect is that it is not a huge organisation with a set of employees. The entire team comprises volunteers.
Thali plans to continue taking leftover food from restaurants even after Ramazan to feed the underprivileged. “Our tag line is simple; Khaali karo ya Thali karo i.e. eat all the food on your plate or donate it,” said Hassan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2015.
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