Rescue Food: A Czech Initiative Turning Leftovers into Lifelines

To combat food waste and poverty, the Czech organization “Zachraň jídlo” is launching its second public collection, “Obědovka.” This initiative aims to distribute leftover meals from corporate canteens to needy people. According to their findings, an astounding 72,000 lunches are wasted in such canteens every day. This is particularly troubling as the number of households in the Czech Republic living below the poverty line has risen from nine to sixteen percent in recent years.

Data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reveals that in 2022, a staggering 271,820 adults and children faced housing poverty. The most affected groups are single parents and individuals of retirement age, with nearly 13,000 people residing in asylum homes last year. For many individuals, a warm, quality meal is often considered a luxury they can’t afford.

The “Zachraň jídlo” organization has been working to donate surplus meals from corporate canteens for several years, a common practice. Thanks to their “Rescue Lunch” project, they’ve connected canteens with charitable organizations, providing valuable food for their clients free of charge.

Every contribution to the collection makes a significant difference. A donation of 500 CZK (approximately $22 USD) rescues twenty portions, feeding twenty people in need. A donation of 1,000 CZK feeds forty-five individuals, and 4,000 CZK rescues 200 portions for 200 hungry individuals.

“Zachraň jídlo” aims to donate leftover, ready-made meals, a common practice throughout the Czech Republic. If this year’s “Obědovka” collection is successful, they plan to increase the number of participating canteens and asylum homes, thereby feeding thousands more individuals in need.