Excess food from Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Village is being used by a team of international chefs to donate to poor Brazilian locals in need. Around 5,000 healthy and nutritious meals are being made per day from surplus ingredients otherwise destined to be wasted, such as fruit, vegetables and yogurt.
“We want to fight hunger and provide access to good food,” said Brazilian David Hertz who runs the RefettoRio initiative along with Italian Massimo Bottura. Around 40 other international people help out on the project.
The project hopes to give food to the needy including the city’s disadvantaged, poor and homeless. “We want it to become a legacy for the city,” the project organizers said on their website.
Hertz said that the project will also run during the Paralympics and will continue operating as a social business. He hopes to see more projects of its kind in cities hosting the Olympic games and be able to provide practical training to those working in the kitchen.
The chefs in the Olympic village already cater for more than 18,000 hungry athletes, officials and olympic staff members. The village has been marred by problems, with many athletes and teams complaining that the accommodation is not up to standard, including problems with flooding and fire alarms.
While Brazil is Latin America’s biggest economy, it has high levels of poverty and inequality. Hunger dropped to under 5 percent in 2015 from around 15 percent in 1990, according to U.N. statistics.
Many residents in Rio’s poorer neighborhoods have been targeted by authorities as they try to clean up the city as swathes of international visitors visit for the games.
Houses have been knocked down to make way for Olympic infrastructure. The Brazilian government along with private investment has pumped millions into the games.
Teachers have been left unpaid, and public institutions gutted of funds as Michel Temer’s unpopular coup-imposed government imposes widespread austerity measures.