For many students here at Iowa State, the biggest issues on their plates may include time management or GPA, but all too close to home, students and families are wondering if they will even get a plate of food to eat, and from where it might come.
That is why Sugam Sharma, systems analyst for the university’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology, created eFeed-Hungers.com, a website intended to help bridge the gap between those who wish to donate and those in need of food.
“There are close to 8 million hungry people in the world,” Sharma said. "So one night, as I was having my dinner, I decided ‘let’s do something about that,' and I started the technology.”
Sharma said he realized that the manual effort was creating a boundary. In a day and age in which people seem too busy to be aware of the dire situation around them, he said it was imperative that he and his researchers designed technology that would allow people to donate with minimal effort.
Sharma said nearly everyone has a cellphone, so the software he designed should make it convenient to reduce food waste.
All a donor has to do is click the donate button in the website. From there, they can select the time and location of which a specific amount of food would be present and available to the public, allowing companies, churches and individuals to donate food they would otherwise throw away.
“We don’t want situations where food is going in the trash," Sharma said. “Let’s give it to people who need it."
Donators also can help supplement the food pantries that do not have enough to feed those in Story County.
“Food pantries have their limitations," Sharma said. "Even if they can feed 20 or 30 people a week, there are still 8 million hungry people worldwide.”
Sharma said he hopes to use his website to combat this issue, starting right here at home, as Story County has nearly 16,000 hungry people, the highest ratio of hungry people in Iowa. However, he does eventually want to see it helping people to reduce food waste and feed the hungry around the world.
“There is no scarcity of food,” Sharma said. “But if we can provide for even one percent of the hungry population, we will be happy.”