Have you heard about the “Robins” of Crossings Republik yet? If you haven’t, time you did. About 30 residents are now a part of a global charitable trust called Robin Hood Army (RHA) that works to distribute surplus food from restaurants and the community to serve those who are most likely to go hungry.
And these humanitarians call themselves Robins, after Robinhood of Sherwood forest.
Food is collected daily from restaurants, bakeries, hostels, function halls and parties and distributed where it is required. “We visit homeless families, orphanages, patients from public hospitals and old age homes,” says Vinod Bansal, a 28-year-old volunteer, and a resident of Ajnara Gen-X, a condominium in Crossings Republik.
This is mostly the routine for weekdays.
On weekends, they teach kids from slums and encourage them to get enrolled in schools. In fact, a few of them are also supporting the education of such kids. “We also counsel parents who are reluctant about school. We offer financial help as well — we want to rid this area of hunger and illiteracy,” Bansal explains.
RHA started operating in Crossings from this year, on August 15.
Bansal describes RHA as a movement to eradicate one of the most persistent problems of our times — hunger and malnutrition. “Every 10 seconds, a child dies of hunger, while a third of food is wasted every day. The number of deaths is much higher than an epidemic,” he persists.
RHA has no permanent office space. All the work is done through WhatsApp, which they call their virtual office space.
Elaborating on the operations part, Bansal says, “We have over 50 restaurants, dhabas, and many hostels mess as our partners. They ping us on WhatsApp whenever they have surplus food. We then coordinate with our volunteers to fetch the food and distribute ahead.”
Volunteers of RHA hail from various age groups, ranging from an 11-year-old kid to a 65-year-old citizen. But largely, “Robins” are students and young working professionals — and this is what they do in their free time.
Anjali Mishra, a resident of Gaur Global Village in Crossings Republik, participates along with her 11-year-old daughter, Tara, in weekly education and food drives.
“I wanted to put a portion of the money I earn for something like this,” says Mishra.
She encouraged her daughter to come along because she wanted point out how the food we generally waste can feed a person. “Remarkably, her habit of wasting food has reduced drastically. Also, she has learned a few lessons in compassion and kindness,” adds the proud mother.
Started in 2014, RHA has its reach in more than 75 cities, spreading across 15 nations. More than 17,000 volunteers support the organisation. Ghaziabad alone has over 1,000 volunteers.