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Share my Dabba: The Tiffin Has Just Become More Social

May 15th, 2013Design, Food, India, Photos & Videos

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A new campaign in Mumbai uses the famous lunchbox network to feed the street children of the city.  Some would define it as “social innovation” – using an existing infrastructure for social impact.

What is Share My Dabba?

Share My Dabba is an initiative to get uneaten food in dabbas (lunch boxes) to hungry children on the street. It’s not charity but an attempt to create a practical, every day system for food relief.

Why Share My Dabba?

300 million children across the world will go hungry today. 200 thousand in Mumbai, with 2 starving to death. All this while we leave behind food. In the dabbawala system itself, out of the 120 tons of food transported, approximately 16 tons is wasted. Wouldn’t you rather share this with a hungry child than throw it in the bin?

How does it work?

On a diet? Not feeling that hungry? Skipped lunch? More food than you can eat? If you have any food uneaten in in your dabba, all you need to do is put a Share sticker on it. The sticker allows the dabbawalas to identify the ones Shared from the ones empty. When the dabbas, on their way back, go through sorting the ones with a Share sticker are kept aside. This gives volunteers a window to open these dabbas and give the food inside to children. They then repack the dabbas and keep them back while the children finish the food.

When do the children get the food?

Right after lunch, barely an hour and a half after it’s eaten.

What about the quality of food?

It’s the same food you would share with your colleagues or friends during lunch. Or that you would eat off your colleague’s plate. Some of it does go cold by the time it reaches the children, but remains just as nutritional. As far as transmitting germs through the food goes, would you share your food with a friend if you were ill? We expect participants to follow the same logic. If someone does paste a sticker with malicious intent, it will be traced back to them.

Will this program come to my city?

We hope so. All we need is a strong food network we can attach ourselves to. But first, we’re trying to make this work in Mumbai.






6 Responses

  1. pat says:

    200 million tons of food a day is thrown out in the US most from the public schools and restaurants. what’s missing is the system to take those trays of food to the food ministries and then get them back to the entities that supplied them if they are not disposables. we can’t wait for the government to do this, it takes volunteers to organize this.

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