'Saving food to save lives': NGO rescues leftover wedding food to feed the needy
By Steve Lunt
In India, weddings are lavish affairs lasting several days where large amounts of food are prepared.
But a lot of the food ends up going to waste.
Turning this into an opportunity, an organization has begun a movement it describes as "saving food to save lives." 
Started in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu state by three graduates, “No Food Waste” recovers uneaten food from wedding and functions, and then delivers them to the hungry.
When someone calls their hotline offering fresh food, volunteers try to respond as quickly as an emergency service, knowing that wasted time means wasted food.
They have also developed an app that allows their staff and volunteers to quickly locate, collect, and distribute the surplus tons of food to thousands of homeless and hungry found in cities across the country.
Volunteers distribute food. /CGTN Photo

Volunteers distribute food. /CGTN Photo

One such volunteer is Tharnesh Dhibbu who spoke to Assignment Asia about one of his encounters with the needy.
“One day, we delivered food to the slum areas and a lady came and spoke to me. She told me she had not eaten for the past two days and was ready to die. But because of our food, she lived. Her words touched me deeply. This is the reason why I have continued my work.”
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, over 195 million Indians are undernourished. 
However, the United Nations Development Program noted that up to 40 percent of food is wasted in India each year, or the entire amount consumed annually in the United Kingdom.
According to the “No Food Waste” website, over 900,000 people have been fed through their efforts, while over 300 tons of food has been saved.
Assignment Asia is CGTN's award-winning current affairs program featuring long-form stories and documentaries on some of the most pressing issues in the region. The show airs Saturdays at 1330 and 2130 GMT, with replays every Sunday at 0630, Monday at 0130, and Tuesday at 0530.
(Top image: Undernourished children in the slums. /CGTN Photo)