There is a food bank in India where people can deposit and withdraw home-cooked meals.
Credit: Arunabh Bhattacharjee / EyeEm / Getty Images

When you think food bank, you probably imagine dropping off cans or other non-perishable goods but don’t really have an idea of how that food gets into the hands of the people who need it. But a food bank in India has garnered attention for rethinking its system: Donors are encouraged to drop off home-cooked meals, leftovers essentially, whenever is convenient throughout the day; meanwhile, those who’d like a free meal can stop by and pick up food whenever they need.

The “Roti Bank,” as it is called, was started by Yusuf Mukati, who runs a number of business and charitable endeavors. “The idea behind the bank is to ask people from well-to-do families to spare and deposit rotis with vegetarian or non-vegetarian food cooked at their home for the poor, unemployed and old, who can withdraw it respectfully, without begging,” he told The Indian Express. Food can be dropped off and picked up anytime between 11am and 9pm.

For those concerned about the health repercussions of accepting randomly prepared meals, the Roti Bank has that covered. “To open an account at the Roti Bank, the donor has to fill up (sic) a form and obtain a code number,” Mukati explained. “The registration formalities are there only for the sake of safety norms. If there is a case of food poisoning, we can track the donor easily through this code number and ask them to be more vigilant about the quality of food.” The restrictions haven’t stopped people from helping out: over 200 food deposits are made every day with over 500 people served.

The Roti Bank also accepts larger donations from hotels and catering companies, but it’s the idea of personal donations that are available for anyone to take that defines the model. If the only thing you hate more than leftovers is wasting food, these are the food banks of your dreams.