Your Leftover Food From Weddings, Parties, And Buffets Can Help Stray Animals. Here's How
Malaysians throw away about 16,688,000kg of excess food every single day.
There's no denying that Malaysians love their meal times
Well, one married couple saw a way to turn men's literal trash into treasure for stray animals.
Enter: Zero Hunger Stray Animal Unity Project.
27-year-old Viishnu Silvam and his wife, Kavithaletchumi Subrau, initiated the project after seeing how stray animals struggled to find food to feed themselves on a daily basis.
"The idea was from my own experience, as I used to waste food after feeling full. At times, my family would raise concerns and advise me not to waste food," Viishnu told SAYS.
The project first started out as a simple couple activity, with Viishnu and Kavithaletchumi buying dry dog food and packing them into small bags.
The packs are kept in their car, so that if they see any stray animals while driving around in their car or on their motorbike, they can stop to feed them.
From there, the duo then planned to bring the project to the next level by collecting at weddings
"We came up with the concept of collecting waste food - to start collecting waste foods in wedding receptions," Viishnu explained to SAYS.
"Wedding receptions are the place where most people will waste their food. Either they take way too much food which is beyond their capacity or they find the food is not tasty; so they dump the food in the dustbin," he added.
Their very first collection "booth" was organised for Viishnu's cousin's wedding.
So how do you get Zero Hunger Stray Animal Unity Project involved in your next big celebration?
First, get in touch with the team to make arrangements.
You will need to contact the team on Facebook or via WhatsApp at +60187625091 to make arrangements.
Some details they will need are:
- Your name,
- At least two contact numbers,
- The location and address of your event,
- The time your event starts and ends, and
- The date of your event.
From there, Viishnu - who is based in Johor - will contact his volunteers to arrange the management of the booth.
Currently, the Project has four volunteers in the Klang Valley, and a few more in Gemas and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; Karak and Raub, Pahang; and various parts of Johor.
Due to the limited number of volunteers, bookings need to be made at least three weeks in advance.
On the day of your event, the Project volunteer will set up a small corner for leftover food collection
"We will prepare plastic bags and put it nearby the dustbin where people will throw the food. We will be standing by to assist and encourage people to throw their food in the plastic bag we prepared," Viishnu explained to SAYS.
The volunteers will also scan through the food that has been collected to ensure that there are no dangerous items inside.
While the Project does not charge the public for utilising its service, they appreciate donations to be channelled towards their other efforts
"We don't charge for this [service] unless anyone want to donate some cash or food," Viishnu told SAYS.
"With the donation, we can save it for spaying/neutering, buying dry dog food, and medical expenses for the strays. And also, it will be updated accordingly on the Facebook page."
Viishnu and his volunteers also rescue stray animals, treat them, and then put them up for adoption - with terms and conditions, of course.
Viishnu also welcomes more volunteers who would like to help out with the Project
"We welcome and need [a] lot of volunteers from others states," he said.
Volunteers will be expected to:
- Conduct animal rescues,
- Have their own transport,
- Are willing to use their own money for the expenses,
- Must be an animal lover, and
- Are willing to sacrifice their time to carry out Project activities.
Those who are interested in being a volunteer can personally contact Viishnu through the Project's WhatsApp number.