The Bahrain restaurants supporting Tony the Dogfather
Time Out Bahrain staff
Ever wondered what happens to the food you leave on your plate at a restaurant? Or, for that matter, the mountains of what appears to be waste from the always well-stocked Friday brunch tables?
If you’re anything like us you embarrass your chums and loved ones by whipping out a plastic sarnie bag and filling it up for the furry family members waiting at home (just make sure you remember it’s there).
But, if you don’t have animals of your own, never fear. All that goodness is not going to waste with some of the island’s hotels using it to do their bit for animals in need.
For almost a year, the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre has been donating its leftovers to Tony the Dogfather’s Animal Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming Centre, an initiative which benefits both the animals and the hotel.
Every day, the left-over food from the hotel’s kitchens is gathered in a specific area to be sorted according to what is edible for dogs. For example, food that is spiced or seasoned in a way that is harmful for dogs is omitted from the donation pile. Desserts and sweets, such as chocolates, are also left aside – much as the hungry mutts might appreciate them, chocolate can actually be poisonous for our canine friends.
The leftovers are then taken to the loading dock, where the food is picked up at 4pm each day by Tony’s driver for direct delivery to the kennels. On average around five kilos of food is handed over daily.
The initiative was started back in May 2012 by general manager’s PA Martina Strauss as part of a strategy to further reduce wastage in the kitchens. Since then it’s become part of the daily routine.
“We wanted to do something useful for society,” said Martina. “As you can imagine, at a large hotel with many outlets, we accumulate left-over food throughout the day, no matter how carefully we plan to minimise wastage. Instead of throwing this out, we sought out a way to recycle this food to the benefit of society.
“Tony is a great man and he does a lot for his animals, and we are just doing our bit to help out. It doesn’t cost us anything extra and we get to sufficiently reduce our waste, which in turn benefits these animals and Tony’s cause.”
Other hotels also donating left-over food are the Diplomat Radisson Blu, the Mövenpick and the Marriott Executive Apartments.
Marriott’s Marwan Haddad said: “This is our way of supporting the local community as part of Marriott’s ‘Spirit to Serve’. Because of safety regulations we cannot donate unwanted food to the homeless and we believe Tony’s is an honourable cause so we are proud to be able to help and at the same time make use of waste food.”
Tony rescues abandoned, stray, abused and injured animals, primarily dogs and cats. He then evaluates, rehabilitates and re-homes them to pet lovers across the island. Through the Cat Society of Bahrain and Pet Animals, the charity is sustained mainly through donations and the shops where volunteers sell secondhand goods and furniture.
He said: “We always appreciate the food donations, it’s great for the animals to have some variety in their diet and, of course, it’s a financial help too and the food that comes in is really high quality so it’s a great help for feeding sick and elderly animals which need that extra little bit of TLC, it also gets them acclimatised to the sorts of food they might eat as part of a family.” If you are a hotel or restaurant keen to unload unwanted food, Tony can be contacted on (39 629 889).
CSR at Kempinski
The Kempinski also runs a number of other CSR (corporate social responsibility) programmes. In previous initiatives, the hotel has raised money through cookie decorating for The Palm Association and through a Spice Art Auction for the Al Noor Charity Welfare. In a push to make 2013 a great year of social responsibility, Kempinski has recently adopted a farm to support the local farming industry, while getting daily deliveries of fresh produce.