“This is an ordinary showcase refrigerator. We give it away for nothing. But with one condition …”. This is how a post on Facebook began several months ago by Almaty resident Alikhan Baikonurov. Currently, there are three functioning “charity refrigerators” in the city. And although Food Sharing as a trend has already gained popularity in many countries in the world, it has just recently come to Kazakhstan. So how did this idea turn into reality?
The story began like this. Three friends – Aidar Zhumanov, Ramil Nurmagomedov and Alikhan Baikonurov, earned money together on a joint project. By tradition, they decided to donate part of their earning to charity, and for this they bought three refrigerators for food sharing.
I saw such refrigerators for the first time on the streets of Denver. In nearly every residential area, and near many large grocery stores, such refrigerators are on the street for needy families, students, and pensioners, who are ashamed to ask for charity, but who are very hungry. Residents, as well as retailers, leave completely edible products in them. Those who need food just come and take it. There is a pack of stickers and a pen on the side of the refrigerator for people who leave products can mark the date and time on the package. After awhile, older products are replaced with newer ones,” wrote Alikhan Baikonurov on his personal Facebook account.
The idea of food sharing is simple and ingenious. In many families, products that you do not want to eat may go stale, but at the same time you do not want to throw them away. Public refrigerators are the ideal solution, because in this way you will help yourself and others.
Every time you go on vacation, you leave products at home that will spoil by the time you return. When you celebrate a holiday, it is often the case that there is a lot of extra food that cannot be eaten, and most likely it will become moldy within the next week. Once the shelf life of a product has passed, many people throw them out without waiting, although they are usually totally fine for a few days after the expiration term. One of my friends who works in catering once said that half these dishes which people have refused end up in the scrap pile, even though they haven’t even been touched. This happens all over the place, noted Alikhan.
The refrigerators that have already been installed in the city are actively replenished with food. The project’s initiators were very pleased that so many people want to participate in this initiative. The main conditions are to protect the refrigerators and to ensure the suitability of the products. It is better if they are cameras or other monitoring devices, and it is also a good idea if the products are refilled by familiar people, or from nearby public catering facilities.
One of the refrigerators is located next to a grocery store. The grocery store staff regularly replenish its reserves, and are convinced of a demand every day.
Our refrigerator works 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. People bring a lot of food and always indicate the expiration dates. We also try to replenish its reserves. Most often, people come for food at night. It would be nice if such refrigerators were in all parts of the city,” says shop salesman Ozgur Kanso.
Almaty resident Salima Sarsenova replenishes the refrigerator 2 times a week. Sarsenova thinks this is the right thing to do for the city.
In our family, there is often surplus food, and I do not want to throw it out in the garbage, so I regularly replenish the public refrigerator. There are a lot of people who need just a piece of bread. I encourage everyone to get involving in volunteering or charity work like this,” noted Sarsenova.
Food sharing has begun to pick up popularity in Kazakhstan. Similar initiatives are being implemented in other cities.