The Indian non-profit organization that serves the hungry with surplus food from restaurants and wedding parties has a wonderful journey & vision. Let’s read about it.
Neel Ghose, the founder of this organization got interested in the idea when he came across a similar organization, Refood, in Lisbon in 2014. He was setting up Zomato’s Portugal operations then. Ghose, who was with Zomato from 2012 till 2017, latee he stepped down as Vice President of international operations. The Robin Hood Army was founded in Delhi in 2014. From then the Robin Hood Army (RHA) has grown massively and now operates in 200 cities across 10 countries, and serves around 200,000 people every week, that too without any monetary funding, because RHA is a zero funds volunteer based organization. It has served more than 30 million meals so far.
How They Manage Such Big Network?
When restaurants or individuals call them and say they have surplus food, the volunteers also called Robins, till date over 60,000 of them, use their own vehicles to go, pick up and distribute the surplus food.
“The operations are done by the local volunteers (Robins) and communications are mostly done via instant messaging platform WhatsApp”, said Apurv Mishra to ET, a founding member. The organization don’t have any offices or full time employees. The Robins do this in their spare times. Most of the Robins are either students or young working professionals. This is the reason most of their food drives are arranged on weekends. The Robins gets attracted to the fact that the organization is doing all these without any monetary funding. Another major factor which helped Robin Hood Army to succeed is Decentralization, every city or also known as chapter is free to work with their own pace and keeping up with their local culture.
Robin Hood Army, Jamshedpur
Jamshedpur is one of the 200 cities where the Robin Hood Amry has their presence. Keeping the fact in mind that RHA Jamshedpur started operations 2 years ago, they have achieved great heights in serving the community. There are total 100 Robins currently serving in the city. Most of them are students and young working professionals, as we mentioned earlier. They share a good rapport, they serve together, they laugh together, they enjoy being part of the Green Army i.e. RHA.
We contacted one of the founding members of RHA Jamshedpur, Mr. Pradeep Agarwal to get answers to our questions.
Decoding RHA Jamshedpur!
“We started Robin Hood Army here in Jamshedpur back in September 2018. We planned this whole thing after watching the special episode of KBC which featured Neel Ghose, the founder of the organization. I alongside with personalities like Gaurav Khandelwal and some other people started the chapter in the city.”, said Mr. Agarwal. He also shared a story that the very time, there was a religious gathering in his house and the surplus food was left behind, which is then served among the needy people in the city. He further added that, during the initial days of the chapter they used to purchase and serve Idlies (A South Indian Dish) to the needy.
“We have served more than 4 lakh meals till date in Jamshedpur, out of which around 1.5 lakh meals were served during this COVID19 pandemic.”, confirmed Mr. Agarwal.
Zero Funds? How’s That Possible?
He said, “Generally people want to contribute money but instead of this we like to take the contributions in form of Dry Grains. We request our supporters and sponsors to please contact any nearby shop and give them the money, after that we pickup the grains from there.”
What If Someone Calls On Odd Hours?
He replied, “Yes! sometime people call us on unusual times like 11 or 12 late-night. Even at these ungodly hours our team is ready to serve. He said like every city we also have our WhatsApp group of local Robins. The Robin who gets the call, leaves a message there, then the nearest Robin collects the food and serve it across railway stations and in slum areas which we have already marked.
If COVID19 Brought Down The Energy?
He replied with a smile, “Instead we served more than we ever did! We got support from all over the city. All the Robins have worked very sincerely. We got sponsorships from various organizations. One such organization is XLRI who donated around 150-200 packets of dry grains every week. Biggies like Narbheram Group also supported them efficiently in this noble cause. Working with people in these challenging times was a fantastic experience.”
Another Robin added, “We started serving people with cooked foods, then we started distributing dry grains to families whose income got affected due to the lockdown. Further we also helped our migrant workers and served them with water and packaged snacks at the highway.”
As we said earlier, the Robin Hood Army has served a whopping 30 million meals till date. The #Mission30M is basically a plan through which they want to serve another 30 million meals in 200 cities to the most affected people amid COVID19 lockdown. They’re planning to achieve this target in just 45 days which starts on 1st July and ends on 15th August 2020. A total of 10 countries including neighbor Pakistan, Bahrin, Canada, Botswana, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Uganda will be joining this largest fight against hunger with India.
Mr. Agarwal from RHA Jamshedpur told us that their mission is to serve 1 Lakh people in and around the city, but they are eyeing for even bigger goal i.e. 2 Lakh people.
He also mentioned about their previous mission known as #Mission5 which happened last year. Under this mission they have adopted 5 villages near Dalma Hills and served them.
How Others Can Help In #Mission30M?
As we found the information in the Press Release and also confirmed Mr. Agarwal, anyone interested in serving the society can help.
- If you want to serve as Robin then, visit this link and join RHA.
- Business Owners/Organization/Institutions interested in helping, can help by donating Dry Grains as per their will. Contact you local chapter of RHA. To contact RHA Jamshedpur (Sandeep) on WhatsApp click here.
- If you are a content creator, blogger, Youtuber and have a digital presence then you can help by sharing the campaign to your followers.
Their idea is so impressive that the Harvard Business School published a case study on their work and they use it as teaching material in their course on “Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation”. Read it here : HBS Business Review on RHA
Jamshedpur Guru is the social media partner of RHA Jamshedpur for their #Mission30M