Mumbai's famous lunch-box delivery men or the ‘Dabbawallas’, as they are famously known as have come up with a Nobel initiative called the 'Roti Bank', a gracious gesture to prevent food wastage at social gatherings and providing it to poor like the slum dwellers. This involves collecting the leftover from occasions such as birthday parties, weddings etc. and distributing it quickly to the needy.
The Mumbai Dabbawallas is around 5,000 employees strong organization which prides itself on the quick, efficient and accurate delivery. These Dabbawallas deliver around 200,000 home-cooked lunch boxes from the kitchens of suburban wives, mothers directly to the customers’ office on a daily basis. It will use the same skill set to help those who cannot afford a square meal a day.
Around 400 Dabbawallas have joined the initiative and are working round the clock to deliver the food in timely manner. Although it's been just less than a month, since the start of the initiative, the response has been overwhelming. Spokesperson of the Dabbawalla Union SubhashTalekar informs that "We got around 100 phone calls in a span of days, but we have a limitation, we have to do our work first and this work later. We want to distribute more food to the poor as far as possible".
To make sure the initiative is a success, these Dabbawallas have also tied up with wedding planners and caterers from across the city.
"Food gets wasted in weddings, so, we had a tie up with the Mumbai Dabbawallas Association and I talked to them, they agreed. So we decided that the waste food in the regions of Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai will be collected by them and will be distributed among the needy", said the wedding planner Rishikesh Kadam, who is actively involved with the cause.
To make the initiative a success, the Dabbawallas are also trying to include ways to schedule a pick up even when the quantity of food is less. They are planning to station one member from the union at local stations at all times where people can drop by and hand-over the leftovers.
The incredible delivery system of India's Dabbawallas is famous globally and such social initiatives will make them even more popular. Dabbawallas have staggering accuracy standards, for every six million deliveries, only one fails to arrive at the correct destination and for this very reason, Forbes has awarded the Dabbawallas a coveted 6 Sigma performance rating (a term used in quality assurance if the percentage of correctness is 99.9999999 and over).
This is definitely a commendable move and shows that if the intent to help exists then anyone with limited means also can contribute and make a difference.