PETALING JAYA, June 15 (Sin Chew Daily) — A group of young Malaysians have set up "What A Waste" to collect unsold food from hawkers and restaurants for distribution to the needy.
What A Waste founder Chen Mei Yi, 37, said the group started its service last year after it was set up earlier in December 2018.
The group sources excess food from hotels, restaurants, food courts, bakeries, buffet gatherings and even wedding banquets.
What A Waste is currently manned by eight members and over 20 volunteers.
Chen learned about food donation from friends living overseas after she joined the community service three years ago.
"I was active in providing food aid. After gathering some experience, I discovered that many had collected food using the food bank concept where storage, refrigerator, trucks are needed.
"Those who need the food would also need to have transport to pick up the food," she added.
She hoped to have easy and simple ways to help more people in need. Hence, What A Waste delivers food picked up from donors to the needy within a radius of 5km, bridging the gap between donors and recipients.
"Take for example, the food donor is in Petaling Jaya. Then we would arrange for food to be delivered to recipients in the area not more than 5km from the donor," she said, adding that her team would make the delivery arrangements.
"Many who operate food businesses and individuals are keen to contact us to help deliver the food, because they know whom we deliver to," she said.
Currently What A Waste has about 20 regular donors running restaurants, bakeries, as well as fruit, chicken rice, noodle and even mixed rice stalls. The group also receives request to donate excess food from wedding banquets.
Chen once received a request from a newly-wed couple in Ipoh.
According to the standard operating procedure, What A Waste and the host would explain to guests about the food saving campaign in which guests are advised to use the serving chopsticks instead of their own when picking up the food from the table.
"Guests are cooperative based on our experience. We will not collect food that contains the guests' saliva," she said.
Chen also works with bakeries and collects a total of 59 buns from a bakery at SS19 Subang Jaya on the day of interview with Sin Chew Daily.
Chen said the buns were repacked to be distributed to residents staying at low cost flats in USJ1.
"Buns that have not been distributed will be discarded," she said.