Over 800 million people in the world are undernourished. With about 72 billion pounds of food going to waste each year, we could be using that surplus to feed families that are facing hunger. There are always ways to help make a difference with this issue!
Massimo Bottura, an incredibly talented Italian chef, renowned for his three-Michelin-star winning restaurant Osteria Francescana, which has ranked in the top 5 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Award for the past 8 years, stepped up to the plate in 2016 when he founded Food for Soul, a non-profit organization that aims to build and sustain community kitchens in places all around the world. Food For Soul also encourages professionals in different fields to engage in alternative approaches to building community projects.
Food For Soul is based around three principles: Quality of Ideas, Power of Beauty, and Value of Hospitality. Bottura’s nonprofit meals are made from surplus ingredients that would generally go to waste.
Contributions of ideas from diverse minds help to creatively create meals using what is donated to each kitchen. Volunteers work to create spaces that are safe, comfortable and welcoming for all guests in order to nourish their souls. Bottura’s organization invites guests to share a meal around the same table and volunteers serve guests. The warmth of the atmosphere promotes the hospitality that the organization works very hard to achieve. These community kitchens are not only used as a food source for the hungry, but as a way of socialization. Families and individuals are invited.
Bottura partners with sponsors, sustainers, and volunteers to leave behind a lasting impact. Almost half of all fruits and vegetables produced each year are thrown right into the trash. The guests of the Food For Soul kitchens are people with little or no access to resources and opportunities.
With the help from these partners, Food For Soul coordinates volunteers to restore and renovate spaces in order to create these community soup kitchens. These kitchens are open Monday through Friday and allow local communities to explore the value of abandoned food and what kind of opportunities could be behind the surplus of food.
So far, Food For Soul has helped over 150,000 guests with 450,000 dishes cooked. 830 volunteers have helped this organization come to life and 450 tons of food has been recovered since this organization was founded.
With a renowned chef at the helm of the organization, Bottura invites chefs from all over the world to create delicious and healthy meals in these community kitchens using the surplus of food. Although the main goal of Food For Soul is to feed the hungry and raise awareness, initiatives can vary based on community needs.
Additionally, the organization works to make use of food at every stage in their lifespan. Browned bananas, overripe tomatoes and stale bread are creatively used by prestigious chefs in order to provide a healthy and sustainable meal for people in need.