The Robin Hood Army
What kind of memories does the mention of the Robin Hood army bring to one’s mind? Robbing the rich to feed the poor. That is the story we read. Now a twist in the tale. What if one can feed the poor without robbing the rich? What if the ‘haves’ willingly give to the ‘have-nots’ with no regrets? In fact, they might even tweet to their friends about the ‘Robin Hood army’ to do the same. This story is about the ‘Robin Hood’ and his merry men the ‘Army’ who help the poor from charity received from the rich. Read on.
On 26th of Aug 2014 in the city of New Delhi, Neel Ghose a good Samaritan formed the ‘Robin Hood Army’. This army of like-minded people paid on their own, bought food and distributed it to the hungry people. A small and casual humanitarian gesture back then is now a worldwide movement with a presence in around 120 cities and 13 countries around the world.
The so called ‘Army’ is in reality a group of working professionals, students, homemakers and any person willing on a common platform – The Robin Hood Army. The goal is to distribute food and use it as a medium to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged. The ‘Army’ (aka Robins) of volunteers set aside an hour a day and a couple of hours over the weekends and more energetic ones commit even more to the cause.
The Robins on one hand create an awareness about wastage of food on the other help connect people with surplus food to the needy. Where do the Robins make a difference?
The hungry do not have the privilege like us to have breakfast followed by lunch and wind it up with dinner. They eat when food is available for they know not when the next meal will surface, if it does at all. The luxury of nutrition or balanced diet is too far away even to imagine.
The ‘Robins’ make a significant difference. It is not only distributing food, one of the other objectives is to provide children with an opportunity and platform to make them better citizens and lead a better lives. The glorious objectives are to
• Create awareness about wastage of edible food. (The ‘haves’ are guilty of wasting 1.2 Trillion kilo grams of food every year)
• Collect excess food from restaurants, events, canteens, offices and distribute to the needy. There are also regular food partners who prepare additional food for distribution on a regular basis. It is a sad fact that around 7000 people die of hunger-related issues in our country every day.
• Collect clothes, groceries, toys and other necessaries that good Samaritans wish to donate and distribute it to the needy.
• Run academies for slum children and engage with them through academics, dance, arts, games, and other interactive tools. Take the children to special events.
• The team also runs special campaigns on hygiene and safety. (Includes Good Touch - Bad Touch kind of information).
• Engage the kids at these slums and orphanages to give them some quality time impart soft skills and take them out for excursions to give them a feel of the outside world.
• Organize and conduct classes on dance, music football and self-defense.
The passionate and dedicated team has used the power of social media, and in four years have served food to more than 11 million people across 120 cities.
The ‘Robins’ do not ask or accept money. The team has a strict No-funds approach.
The Robin Hood Army (RHA) Bangalore is present in several locales in Bengaluru. There are independent chapters in Brookefeild, HSR Layout, Electronic City, Koramangala, Jayanagar, Yelahanka, Malleswaram, Domlur, and Hebbal; There are dedicated groups for food drives, ad hoc food calls, and academies for children.
As said earlier, ‘Robins’ are full time working professionals, one of the biggest challenges is to get volunteer support during the weekdays. There are always opportunities to volunteer for collecting perishable/ non-perishable food through corporate CSR campaigns/ housing societies and other logistics. More important is the correct identification of the needy people.
The RHA is always pleased to help the interested people to know about the organisation and its activities. A mere click on the mouse, visit the group on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1492675171009016/?ref=group_header ) or visit the portal www.robinhoodarmy.com.
Abhishek is a senior professional with more than 2 decades of experience in print media marketing, admission counseling, management project guidance, and social service. He leads the Bangalore chapter of RHA and is a proud Robin. He’s an occasional blogger and poet. You can read more of his work at kutaj.wordpress.com