World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.
Minimising food waste being one of the sustainability initiatives of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament has teamed up with Feeding India, the country’s largest youth-run, not-for-profit organisation with more than 7,500 volunteers in over 45 cities, which strives to alleviate the problem of hunger, malnutrition and food waste in India. Feeding India volunteers, called “Hunger Heroes”, are also part of the team of volunteers for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and are helping to donate leftover food at all six tournament venues to shelter homes. The food is initially checked for its quality before being transported in special containers to beneficiaries in the homes.
On 16 October, to celebrate World Food Day, FIFA and the LOC organised a very special event for 70 girls at a Feeding India shelter home in Delhi. The kids were busy playing indoor games and drawing, completely unaware of the surprise waiting for them on the veranda, when all of a sudden, Kheleo, the highly popular Official Mascot for the tournament, walked in with some Hunger Heroes carrying delicious food. After the tasty morsels had been handed out, Kheleo unveiled the main surprise of the day by distributing footballs to the 70 girls.
The kids had no inkling of what was awaiting them. Palak Gupta, caretaker at the shelter home, said: “We have seen India playing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup matches on TV and it has got the kids really interested in football. I am sure they can’t wait to play the beautiful game with the balls they have received.”
In the short space of time since its foundation, Feeding India has served 9 million meals to children, women, senior citizens and disabled people, and has initiated World Food Week, a movement that aims to put a stop to the massive food waste in India and to use this excess nutritious high-quality food to fight hunger by feeding people in need.