Utilising food surpluses from restaurants, hotels and households and transporting them to people in need has been the regular work by the members of the Hanoi Food Rescue (HFR) over the past five years.
Over the past five years, HFR members have brought 50,000 free edible meals to more than 16,000 poor people, patients, and orphans in Hanoi (Photo: Hanoi Food Rescue)
The HFR was established in June 2013 as a result of the "Dash for Impact" competition, which was launched by the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC) to call on youth projects to directly and positively impact the society.
Recognising the fact that there is an increasing amount of leftover food, while there are many people living in difficulties, a group of students from the Hanoi-Amsterdam, Foreign Language Specialised School, and Chu Van An high schools gathered together to rescue the food.
The HFR’s goals are to raise public awareness of food saving and create a sharing atmosphere in the community through charitable activities.
One of the challenges facing the HFR in its initial days of operation was calling for sponsors. As the first organisation to be launched by youngsters with a focus on work related to food in Vietnam, the HFR received less trust and appreciation from business partners.
In addition, human resources were also another obstacle as most of the members were students, who were busy with their studies and thus had limited spare time for volunteer activities.
HFR Chairperson, Tran Anh Duong, recalled that during the first days of establishment, the team members had a lot of difficulties in finding sources of food surpluses which still met the standard of food hygiene and safety.
However, thanks to the huge effort of the entire team and support from REACH - a local non-government and non-profit organisation operating in providing vocational training and employment for Vietnam’s most disadvantaged youth, the first packets of leftover food were handed over to disadvantaged people in Hanoi in September 2013.
Starting from only 15 members and 50 volunteers, after five years of operation, the HRF now has an additional 30 members and 80 volunteers, who have brought 50,000 free edible meals to more than 16,000 poor people, patients, and orphans in the city, provided by 30 local hotels, restaurants and cafeterias.
The HFR’s goals are to raise public awareness of food saving and create a sharing atmosphere in the community (Photo: Hanoi Food Rescue)
The leftover food is pided into inpidual portions and packaged into containers before being shipped to people in need.
As most of the team members are students, the food is transported by buses in the afternoon so that the activity doesn’t affect their school time.
Dang Thanh Lam, a team member of the HFR, said that after one year of participating in the project, Lam has increased his awareness of saving food, while understanding the meaning of sharing in life, as well as the joy in supporting others.
Nguyen Thi Van Anh, an 11th grader from Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for Gifted Students, said that thanks to the HFR, she can contribute her vitality to warm the hearts of underprivileged people.
In addition to regularly collecting and handing leftover food, which is carried out five days a week, the HFR also hosts an annual programme titled ‘Tet Donation’, which calls for support from beneficiaries to help students in northern and remote provinces to celebrate Tet (lunar New Year).
HFR members present Tet gift to students at San Sa Ho 1 school, Sapa town, Lao Cai province during the HFR's 'Tet Donation; programme 2018 (Photo: Hanoi Food Rescue)
In the first edition in 2014, the Tet Donation programme presented 185 Tet gifts to students in Vu A Dinh elementary school in Dong Quan commune, Luc Yen district, Yen Bai province. The most recent event for the lunar Tet celebration 2018 received more than 7,000 gifts, which were granted to students at San Sa Ho 1 school, Sapa town, Lao Cai province.
“We hope that through our activities, the HFR members will convey a message of sharing and compassion for underprivileged people in society,” expressed HFR Chair Tran Anh Duong./.