In the last couple of weeks of so, I’ve been gripped by the Masterchef fever. I don’t get Star World HD on my TV, so downloading the episodes of the latest season of arguably the best cooking competition reality show and spending sleepless nights watching them back to back seems to be the only viable thing to do. Now however much I may be in love with the show or the exquisite talent of the contestants (who don’t even fall short of churning up things like Ant Parfait!!) what bothers me incessantly is the colossal waste of food in the Masterchef Kitchen. Overwhipped cream: chuck it in the bin, ill-tempered chocolate: chuck it in the bin, overcooked chicken: chuck it in the bin. You get the point, right? It would make so much more sense if those ingredients were preserved and used for a cause that was worthier than the waste bin.
And just when I was pondering over this gross wastage of food, I got a call from Ankita intimating me about Robin Hood Army’s Mission 100k. Now let me rewind a bit and take you to where it all started from.
Last year around this time, one fine day I got a Facebook invite from my childhood friend Neel to like his new page “The Robin Hood Army“. I had no clue what it was all about but the name itself reflected in a large way the cause it stood for. The Robin Hood Army, as you might already have guessed by now, is a community that believes in extending help to the less fortunate ones by distributing food to them every week. Neel explained to us the concept in detail the last time we met (during Puja 2014) and the strides that his brainchild has taken since then has taken the nation by storm.
A volunteer-based organisation, Robin Hood Army has been relentless in their mission to get surplus food from restaurants and getting it across to people who really need it. What was started off by Neel and his friend Anand (Sinha) in New Delhi has taken tremendous strides and grown by leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. After making their presence felt in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jabalpur and other Indian cities, Robin Hood Army has now crossed borders and ventured into Lahore and Karachi as well. Mostly run by students and young working professionals, RHA aims at creating self-sustained chapters who will look after their local community and in the process inspire people to give back to those who need it the most.
In a matter of just a year, RHA has found tremendous media recognition in the form of The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Firstpost, DNA, Business Standard, CNN IBN, NDTV, The Times of India, Dawn and suchlikes.
Till date, RHA has reached out to 1.2 lakh people via more than 730 Robins across 15 cities. After a super successful Diwali drive, what it now aims to do, in collaboration with ScoopWhoop and Uber, is launch their Mission 100k. In their words, “The campaign aims to mobilise students across India and Pakistan who will rally together for a common cause. The goal is to serve 100,000 less fortunate people on both sides of the border on Independence Day.” Students from SRCC (Delhi), St. Xavier’s (Kolkata and Mumbai), ISB (Hyderabad), PEC (Chandigarh), LUMS (Lahore), Christ University (Bangalore), IBA (Karachi), Ziauddin Medical College (Karachi), St. Stephens (Delhi), IIM (Calcutta) are just a few of the ever-increasing number of Robins who are geared to don their green T-shirts and venture out to the streets on 15th of August to make this mission a success.
If you want to help you can join the bandwagon by either being a volunteer, a restaurant-partner or part of a student/college group. What you need to do is fairly simple:
1. Set up your own college team to serve meals and gifts to the less fortunate community within a 2 km radius of your campus or even go solo or with a group of friends if you’re not a student
2. Share your experiences and pictures on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the hashtag #Mission100k.
3. Tag @RobinHood_Army, @ScoopWhoop and @Uber_India on social media and RHA will keep sharing these updates to inspire thousands of others students.
4. Don’t forget to wear green (Go Robin!) and mention your college name, if applicable. Any impact is positive — whether you help ten people or a thousand.
I have my goodies ready to be distributed on I-Day. Make sure you have too!