Sixteen-year-old Kiran Sridhar of the San Francisco Bay Area has been announced as one of the 25 winners of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, an award that celebrates inspiring, public-spirited youth from across America, for his food redistribution project to tackle food wastage and hunger.
Sridhar is the creator of Waste No Food, a free, Web-based service that links food donors with charities that feed the hungry. Through the Web site, the Indian American teen has devised a simple system to redistribute food by encouraging food donors and charities to sign up. Donors can post available food to pre-approved charities who in turn, claim it and pick it up.
In four years, Waste No Food has redistributed food to serve 100,000 meals and has kept thousands of pounds of food out of landfills.
Each year, the Barron Prize honors outstanding young leaders aged eight to 18 who have made a significant, positive difference to people and the planet.
As one of the top 15 winners, Sridhar will receive a $5,000 prize to support his higher education or service work.
Sridhar, who is also the executive director, president and secretary of the organization he founded, came up with the idea for Waste for No Food as a seventh grader while volunteering at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church, which serves three meals daily to the needy.
Through his research into the global hunger problem, he discovered that human beings produce six times the amount of food needed to feed everyone on the planet. Sridhar realized the problem stems mainly from food distribution, with one-third of all food in California being wasted.
Sridhar, who is currently in his senior year at a Bay Area high school, views the problem as both a humanitarian and environmental one, with wasted food having an effect on landfills and methane emissions.
He sought the help of 140 students at his high school to sign up food donors and set the Waste No Food system in motion. Seeing its success, other schools and community colleges are keen to adopt it.
Sridhar has spent the past year developing a Waste No Food cell phone app, which he plans to launch soon.