Serving happiness, one plate at a time

Leading NGO Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) served a whopping 10 crore fresh meals and supplied food relief kits across the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, an official said on Thursday.
“We have served 10 crore fresh meals and supplied food relief kits with essential groceries to the needy in 18 states and 2 Union Territories across the country since March 2020 when the pandemic broke out and spread,” Foundation Chairman Madhu Pandit Dasa said in a statement.
Set up in this tech hub with former Infosys Director T.V. Mohandas Pai as its co-founder in 2000, the foundation is the world’s largest not-for-profit organisation that serves mid-day meals on school days to over 18 lakh children in 19,039 state-run and aided schools in 12 states across the country.
Dasa of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) is the founder of the two-decade-old NGO.
The foundation, which completed 20 years of service to the needy on Tuesday, has cumulatively served 3.3 billion (330 crore) mid-day meals to school children across the country since its inception in 2000.
With 1 kitchen 20 years ago, the foundation came a long way to have huge kitchens to serve cooked meals to the Covid-hit people in 14 states across the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi (NCR), Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.
“Through the government’s flagship school-feeding programme — the mid-day meal scheme, the Foundation strives to address the issue of classroom hunger and promote education in the country,” said Dasa in a statement.
On a pilot basis, the foundation has recently started a breakfast programme in Tamil Nadu.
“Our British Chapter has adopted the centralised kitchen model to provide an affordable, scalable solution to child holiday hunger — each meal served in Britain will sponsor a meal for a child in India,” said Dasa.
Investment in infrastructure and resource mobilisation over the years have enabled the foundation to serve the needy efficiently.
“By leveraging technology, we have set up modern kitchens, added to the scale and replicated feeding programmes like mid-day meals for maximum impact,” asserted Dasa.
With schools shut due to the pandemic, the foundation is providing food to the vulnerable communities across the country with the support of donors.
“We are working with the government and donors to ensure nutrition support to mid-day meal beneficiaries by providing Happiness Boxes,” noted Dasa.
Besides nutrition, the boxes are also designed to focus on hygiene and education with their contents ranging from glucose biscuits and ragi flour to colour pencils and activity books.
“We are honoured to complete 20 years in service of children providing them nutritious mid-day meals as an incentive to come to school. Our mission is to reach 5 million children by 2025,” added Dasa. (IANS)

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