This month, I decided to give away leftover food to homeless people. Every day on my way to the office, I come across many beggars. I remember most of their faces. It’s hard for me to tell if they genuinely need food or not, but giving away the leftovers seemed like the best option. Overall, it has been a positive experience so far.
I ordered the South Indian thali that day, which included a generous amount of rice and rotis, two vegetable curries, dal, raita (curd), kheer (an Indian dessert), and salad. As usual, I could hardly finish half of it. I decided to give the rest to the first beggar I met the next day. It took me a few minutes to pack everything properly before heading off to work.
The following day, I encountered a woman with her son. After handing over all of my food packets to her, the boy asked for something as well. Without waiting for the woman’s response, I left and couldn’t stop thinking about why he would want more when I had already given them so much food. It could be because there are many more hungry stomachs waiting for them at home!
This was my second time having extra curry and rice. I didn’t see the woman and boy again, so I gave the food to an elderly person who appeared to be between 60 and 70 years old. Later when I passed by, he was singing in an unknown language. As I handed him the boxes, he gestured for me to leave without any sign of happiness or gratitude on his face. This made me doubt if my gesture had done any good for him at all.
I couldn’t follow the criteria I had set for myself during the first two days. On the third day, I encountered the same elderly person again and felt a bit discouraged. However, even a small smile from him would have motivated me to pack some extra food before heading to work. I ended up giving an old lady at a crossing a box of rice and mushroom curry that I had packed. Although she didn’t say thank you, seeing her put it in her side bag made my day. It also made me realize that maybe people like her don’t just need food; they may need something else or their hardships may have taken away their ability to smile.
This wasn’t intended. I’m on my way home. Rarely do I bring a tiffin box, but when I do, I keep an extra portion for my colleagues. That day, nobody took from my box and I still had some rotis left over. Eventually, I gave them to an old woman without waiting to see her response. Otherwise, they would have gone to waste in the fridge or ended up in the trash. It’s better to give it away than let it go to waste. Their response shouldn’t matter at all – no need to overthink it!
Another home delivery left me with an abundance of food – enough for a full meal. I decided to give it to the same old woman from day 3. As I walked away, she smiled and addressed me. It was all I had wanted for so many days, and it made me feel incredibly happy.
Suddenly, all the poor and homeless people seemed to disappear from that place. Previously, there were more than 5. Some days I didn’t come across anyone at all, so it became difficult for me to give away leftovers. I had to give them in the evening on my way home; fortunately, the food was still good. An old woman begged near a food stall where people ate and chatted outside. She stared longingly at their food. I often see this situation and feel like buying some food for the poor, but a full meal would be better than snacks or fancy food they can only stare at.
I wish I could give the person some clothes in stead of food. It’s winter now and he had only a small cloth to cover himself.
I’ve shared my experience for only 7 days, but I kept giving away leftover food whenever possible. The local government set up a fridge on the sidewalk, making it much easier to give away food. This initiative is great and we need more of them in every city in India. They would reduce a lot of food waste and ensure that homeless people don’t go to sleep hungry.
That’s all for today. Stay well folks. Much love xo
Check out my next blog here-