Biryani, Bread and Leftovers: Kolkata Now Has a Food ATM for the Underprivileged

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Bunk cash, Kolkata’s newest ATM is a giant fridge stocked with food…and its all for the underprivileged. Here’s how you can help.

Food > Cash

Starting August 15, Rotary, Round Table, JITO joined hands with Sanjha Chulha to make sure that less people have to go to bed with their stomachs growling with hunger. Brainchild of Asif Ahmed, the co-owner of the popular restaurant chain, Sanjha Chulha, the first ‘Food ATM’ is a 320-litre refrigerator laden with leftovers. You can find the transparent door ‘ATM’ infront on the Park Circus outlet of Sanjha Chulha. No card or identification is required to grab a meal from the ATM, those hungry enough help themselves.

Waste < Waist

Kolkata produces enough food waste annually to feed entire villages for weeks. To make sure that less people have to go to bed hungry, the ATM will be open to the poor and less fortunate who don’t even get two square meals a day.

A placard on the fridge reads “the amount of food India wastes annually is enough to feed entire Egypt for a year”. The fridge also comes with a camera so people can gauge capactity of the fridge before the donate.

Similar ATMs or food banks are found in other parts of the world. Plans to open three more ATM’s infront of outlets of Sanjha Chulha are in the works.

So, We’re Saying…

If you have leftovers after eating at the restaurant, instead of chucking it out or taking it home where it will lie in the fridge for days, you can now donate it and it will go straight into the ‘ATM’. You can also come and donate home-cooked food or leftovers from other restaurants to add to the stash. Biryani and bread are commonly donated items but fresh food also often finds its way in.


Donate food that will last long and that are packed with nutrients – it’ll go a long way to help.


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