In a world where abundance coexists with scarcity, with one-third of global food production ending up in landfills while one billion people suffer from hunger daily, the issue of food distribution has become a critical concern for humanitarian and environmental efforts. Scholar of Sustenance (SOS) emerges with an answer to achieve food equity within society. 

SOS is an international non-profit organisation with social and environmental projects in Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines. Founded by Bo Holmgreen in 2012, the organisation tackles multiple issues at once: reducing food waste whilst simultaneously feeding those in need.

Essentially, SOS works with donors from the food industry, including hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and catering companies. The organisation’s ‘Food Rescue’ programme facilitates the collection of ‘surplus food’ and redistributes it to marginalised communities, providing them with the necessary sustenance and nutrition previously unobtainable. On top of that, this stops food waste ending in landfills where the decomposition process is known to produce huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

In 2017 SOS made a significant stride by establishing the Scholars of Sustenance Foundation Indonesia in Bali, marking its second country of operation in the Southeast Asian region after Thailand. Since its establishment, SOS Indonesia has distributed approximately 4.77 million meals across Bali, thanks to the support of over 60 donors. This initiative has resulted in the rescue of 890 tons of surplus food and a reduction of 9,040 tons of CO2 emissions.

Building on their success in Bali, in 2023 SOS finally expanded its operations to Jakarta. SOS Jakarta runs several impactful programmes, including the Food Rescue programme, to combat food waste and address food insecurity issues within the region. SOS’ Food Rescue Ambassadors will pick up food from donors, making sure to assess and inspect the quality of food ready for distributions, ensuring seamless collection of surplus food– all of these are done at least once in every day.  Every stage of the distribution process is closely monitored to maintain the highest standards of hygiene and quality.

By following stringent food safety measures, SOS minimises risks and instils confidence in donors. This also ensures the safety of beneficiaries, mainly including orphanages, low-income communities, and disaster-affected areas. Across Bali and Jakarta, SOS delivers 15 tons of food every month, the equivalent of 63,00 meals.

Their second program is Rescue Kitchen where the SOS team collaborates with local kitchens to prepare fresh meals for distribution, volunteers can either purchase ingredients and cook alongside the SOS team or opt for SOS to provide ingredients at a nominal cost per meal. Unique to Jakarta is the Jumat Berkah Programs utilising mosques as hubs to distribute food on ‘Blessed Fridays’. SOS’ Care Package program, distributes basic necessity products in care packages mostly given by their manufacturers’ donors, proving that there are many ways to stop wasteful abundance and help those in need. 

SOS Indonesia’s presence in Jakarta will undoubtedly help to alleviate the growing waste management issues in the city, and slowly educate the local industries through their work. Food companies and individuals who wish to support can do so by contact SOS directly. 

Scholars of Sustenance Indonesia, Jakarta Branch 
Jl. Benda Raya No.14A, Cilandak Timur

NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta