Network plans to recycle unused food to the needy
Secondary school students, new immigrant mothers, community food banks and NGOs have banded together to form a food donation network targeting Hong Kong's supermarkets and food manufacturers, with the aim of helping redistribute unused food to the city's needy.
The 12 participating groups of the Food Donation Alliance are committed to promoting 'food recycling'.
'Now that we have such a broad-based platform, corporations can no longer use the excuse they didn't know there were food banks, or how to get in contact with one, for not taking part in food recycling,' said Edwin Lau Che-feng, director of general affairs at Friends of the Earth, which started the network.
More than 550,000 people are believed to visit food banks in Hong Kong each year.
'Food recycling is beneficial for all - it helps reduce unnecessary waste and feeds the poor. Donations from stores are given to the needy within that neighbourhood, so it saves transport costs,' said Lau.
Among the participating groups are students from Ju Ching Chu Secondary School who started collecting vegetables from markets and distributing them to waste-paper pickers in Tin Shui Wai last year.
'We were inspired by street cleaners, who told us there wouldn't be so much waste if we were more conscious of what we throw out,' said 17-year-old Sharon Law Nim-chi.
Another unlikely group is new mainland immigrant mothers from the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres.
'[The women] know what it means to be poor and don't like seeing food wasted,' said Eva Leung Yee-wah, from the federation.
During the past six months, the women have spread word of the initiative and collected food one night per week. The collection is then distributed to a list of needy recipients the same night.