Unnecessary food waste by retailers is a problem in our society, but one charitable organisation is doing something about it by distributing this still-good food to the needy. Sharuna Segaren discovers how The Lost Food Project is making a difference.
Starting out as a group of 10 friends with the desire to make a difference to the lives of Malaysians as well as the world around us, The Lost Food Project team was formed in October 2015. Since then, they have grown to include plenty of Malaysians and expats who are enthusiastic about the project and help to create a sustainable operation. This passionate team has collected a whopping 14,300 kg of food the past three months, equating to 23,700 meals provided.
The Lost Food Project operates as a not-for-profit NGO, established by PINK (Parents International Welfare Association of Kuala Lumpur) and as such relies on funding from donors as well as the support of volunteers to carry out this service.
“Food is wasted at every step along the supply chain – from farm to post-production.” – Suzanne Mooney
Founder Suzanne Mooney says, “Unfortunately it is inevitable and is a result of modern society. The Lost Food Project currently collects surplus food from retailers and suppliers in KL, which is a great example of the benefits of collaboration between corporate and community. Retailers and suppliers are forced to dispose of large amounts of food as it nears expiry. Most of this food is still good to eat, so The Lost Food Project delivers it to charities and NGOs around Kuala Lumpur. We assess all charities to ensure that food donors can give in good faith, knowing their donations are going to the right place and being handled in line with food safety regulations.”
Shockingly, 3,000 tonnes of edible food is wasted every day, which is enough to feed half a million people. Furthermore, according to Suzanne, this is the largest contributor to solid waste and the greatest source of harmful greenhouse gases in the country.
She explains, “Food waste is a major problem around the world, and here in Malaysia, it is no different. We give to various charitable organisations, we don’t discriminate based on race, religion, or any other characteristics. We ultimately try to give to those who need it most, organisations that don’t receive much assistance or those that support large numbers of people. For instance, we supply food to Kechara Soup Kitchen and Pertiwi Soup Kitchen as well as Women’s Aid Organisation, Alliance of Chin Refugees, Malaysian Social Research Institute, Lighthouse Orphanage, and UNHCR. These organisations are then able to offer nutritious meals to the people they support, as well as saving on food costs, which can then be allocated to other expenses such as housing, education, and healthcare.”
On 24th September 2016, the team will be holding a Disco Charity Fundraiser at Slate @ The Row, Jalan Doraisamy, where all proceeds will go towards The Lost Food Project infrastructure, ensuring more food can be collected and delivered to more charities.
Suzanne says, “The Lost Food Project has received funds to purchase a truck – kindly donated by Delivering Better Lives. We need to raise funds to get the truck on the road, and this requires a driver, running costs, and maintenance.”
“Currently all food is collected and delivered by our volunteers in their own cars. The truck will make a huge difference to our operation, meaning that more food can be collected and delivered to more people.”