24-year-old New Yorker Robert Lee is one of those rare souls who give up their high flying careers, and use their business acumen to make a difference in the world. Lee is the cofounder of ‘Rescuing Leftover Cuisine’ (RLC), an initiative that makes an effort to end urban hunger by collecting wasted food from large establishments and giving it away to the poor.
Lee said that his interest in food conservation comes from his Korean immigrant parents, who insisted on clean plates and taught him never to waste food. Subsequently, he spent his college years volunteering for New York group Two Birds, One Stone, delivering extra dining hall food to homeless shelters. It was during this time that Lee realised he could streamline the system into a scalable model.
Today, Lee and his fellow ‘rescuers’ at RLC march the streets of New York City, collecting paper bags of food from restaurants and cafés that are willing to donate what they would have otherwise thrown away. The team is able to collect anywhere between five and 120 pounds of food a day, and they promptly deliver the haul to a nearby homeless shelter.