Be A Part of Joy of Giving Week with Akshaya Patra – Daan Utsav

When was the last time you gave to society? Now that Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week) 2016 has arrived, it’s time you and I celebrate the festival along with the nation and spread kindness by giving what you can to society.

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Daan Utsav, previously known as Joy of Giving, is a week-long festival celebrated in October all over India, since its launch in 2009. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a children’s NGO based in Bengaluru, is happy to be a part of the initiative, by virtue of being a not-for-profit organisation.

This time of the year, many of us get busy looking for Joy of Giving Week ideas. What we don’t realise is that the most credible ideas are the simple ones – buying a meal for the ones in need, giving a blanket to the homeless, gifting a box of stationery to a child and many more. When we see someone on the street in need of support, we often tell ourselves that we do not have the provision to support that person. Well, you may not be wrong. After all, this person needs your consistent support and we as individuals are often capable of providing help in small measures. However, no act is too small in this regard. As the famous proverb goes – ‘Little by little, little becomes a lot.’

There are many NGOs in India serving a cause with a purpose to deal with pressing social and economic issues and to empower every citizen in the country. This year, you can celebrate the Joy of Giving festival with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This NGO for Children provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children every day. Every meal is a joyous one for the child and for the Foundation. If you are looking for opportunities to give to society, you can collaborate with Akshaya Patra and support the leaders of tomorrow.

The Joy of Giving Week may end in a few days; however, let us continue to support society by giving. Get involved with Akshaya Patra and give to the future!

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Akshaya Patra Celebrating 2 Billion Meals with President of India

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee joined Akshaya Patra in commemorating the organisation’s milestone of having served 2 Billion Meals. During the splendid event held on August 27, 2016, the Honourable President unveiled the Akshaya Patra 2 Billion Meals art-installation which symbolises the landmark and also distributed sweets among beneficiary children. The event which was followed by dinner witnessed the President, in a humble gesture, serving meals to beneficiary children.

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For photos visit, 2 Billion Meals event photos

The evening where President of India visited Akshaya Patra had prominent leaders sharing a message on the Foundation’s vision and mission, the impact and future plans. The dignitaries and eminent political figures included Shri Prakash Javadekar, Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development; Shri Siddaramaiah, Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka; Shri Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, Honourable Governor of Karnataka; Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Member of Parliament; Shri BN Manjunath Reddy, Worshipful Mayor of Bengaluru; Shri Gopalaiah K, Member of Legislative Assembly – Mahalakshmi Layout Constituency; and Mrs Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

To watch the videos visit, 2 Billion Meals event videos

The event was presided by Akshaya Patra’s officials – Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman; Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman; and Shri Mohandas Pai, Independent Trustee. The compère for the evening, Mrs Vasanthi Hariprakash, a renowed anchor and a media strategist, directed the event gracefully.

For 2 Billion Meals media coverage, press coverage and press release, visit Akshaya Patra’s 2 billion meals commemoration.

Here’s an Easy Way to Fundraise with Akshaya Patra!

Approaching an issue with the right solution can have a powerful and positive impact. Akshaya Patra is no different. When we realised the importance of eliminating hunger among children, Mid-Day Meal Programme was implemented in the year 2000, which is currently operational in 13, 210 schools in 11 states across India. You too can get involved in feeding the hungry by fundraising with us!

Fundraising is simple and easy!

Fundraising generally involves many tasks – creating the campaign, communicating the cause, engaging people, raising funds, and all of this could be time-consuming. Akshaya Patra has made this entire process quick and easy on its website. Keeping simplicity in mind, Akshaya Patra allows registered users to create online fundraising campaigns on the website in only a few steps. You can start raising funds from work or home and also engage people from across the globe.

As a donor, we often underestimate the impact of a small amount. However, each fundraising campaign on Akshaya Patra is meaningful – the little and large charity donations we receive make a difference to many children’s lives. One of Akshaya Patra’s well-wishers created a ‘Live for Others’ charity fundraising campaign on the website and within four months, the campaign raised enough funds to feed 793 children for an entire year! To view more campaigns, visit active campaigns.

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Akshaya Patra nurtures over 1.6 million school children every day with healthy mid-day meals and this undertaking promises a better future for our children. It is the Foundation’s mission to empower children, reduce school drop-out rate, and keep children healthy. As India progresses towards a hunger-free nation, you can support the programme along the way too with charity fundraising campaign for Akshaya Patra.

We urge you to get involved with Akshaya Patra in eliminating classroom hunger. Join the movement today and help us create awareness at a global level!

10 Healthy Eating Habits for Children by Akshaya Patra

National Nutrition Week has ended on the 2nd week of September. Before we can wrap up our series on Nutrition, we would like to talk about ten healthy eating habits that must be inculcated among children.

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

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  1. Balanced diet

Children need to be taught early that nothing is tastier than a complete nutritious meal. One of the objectives of mid-day meal at Akshaya Patra is to provide a balanced diet to the children as a healthy eating habit.

  1. Praying before eating

We count it as a healthy eating habit. Akshaya Patra wishes to educate children apart from feeding them. One of our practices is to ensure that the children say their prayers before starting to eat food. This helps them realise the value of food and that they should be thankful to the Almighty for providing them with food.

  1. Eating together

Families must eat together at home and friends must have lunch together at school. There’s nothing more joyous than enjoying a great meal together, discussing about taste and favourite foods. At Akshaya Patra, eating together fulfills our objective of supplying mid-day meal in a healthy environment.

  1. Eating slowly

It’s vital to have the habit of eating slowly as it helps in controlling weight. This ensures that they chew their food properly leading to better digestion. Eating fast causes obesity. Studies have shown that nearly 60 percent of overweight children aged 5 to 17 had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 25 percent had two or more. Also, obese kids have an 80 percent chance of staying obese their entire lives.

  1. Attractive foods

Another healthy eating habit is to include colourful foods, vegetables and fruits in children’s meals. This encourages children to enjoy food and look forward to meals.  At Akshaya Patra, we prepare a variety of food for children to ensure that they really enjoy the experience of having mid-day meal at school.

  1. Water instead of concentrated drinks

In modern day meals, we have got into the habit of consuming concentrated juices or cold drinks or soda instead of water. While fresh juices do have some merit, most preserved juices have more calories than we know.  But water should be the choice during meals for children since it boosts immune system and digestion.

  1. Learning when to stop

Another healthy food habit is knowing when your stomach is full. Toddlers and younger kids find it hard to understand the signals that their stomach sends to their brain. Children should be taught signs of fullness clearly from the time they learn to eat their own food.

  1. Healthier snacks

Today, there are several varieties of snacks available for children, many of which are not healthy. Snacks such as fried foods, packaged foods, noodles, potato chips etc are readily available but are far from healthy. As a healthy eating habit, children must be taught to consume fruits, juices, nuts etc. as alternative snacks.

  1. Less sugar and salt

At Akshaya Patra, the amount of sugar and sweets is an important parameter of a nutritious diet. While we always send extra salts with our transport vans, we teach the children to avoid using too much salt and sugar in their meals. Salt and sugar are the leading causes of heart-related diseases as adults and must be cut down right from the childhood.

  1. Discouraging eating meals before TV

Eating dinner or lunch before television is a common practice among modern families. However, this kills the joy of eating and distracts children from truly savouring their meals. Children often complain of hunger afterwards if they have consumed their meals while watching TV.

There are millions of children still who don’t get healthy food. They need to be reached and fed. We encourage you to donate to NGO towards unlimited food for education so that we are able to take our mid-day meals to more and more children.

Essence of Akshaya Patra’s Nutritional Mid-Day Meal Programme

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

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Akshaya Patra has been operating Mid-Day Meal Programme in schools since the year 2000. It has been meticulous in its approach to ensure that the food served to children has rich nutritional values. But this is no coincidence. There’s a serious roadmap that’s gone into the creation of a flawless process that enables the serving of hygienic and nutritious food to these schools. In the previous blog, we had shared how important is nutrition for children. Today, we wish to give you a walk-through of the nutritional essence of our Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Nutritious food is hygienic food

One of the foremost steps to cooking, serving and consistently providing nutritious food is hygiene. Where is the food cooked? How’s it cooked? Do the cooks follow hygiene norms? How’s the food transported? How’s it served? These are the questions that have been converted into a meticulous process of serving food. The process begins right from buying the ingredients for the food – be it fresh vegetables, pulses, rice etc. Our centralised and decentralised kitchens across 11 states in India have been designed for the most hygienic conditions of cooking food. Everyone working or even entering these kitchens must go through a process of cleaning their hands and feet before they start to work. Our workers wear gloves while serving the food and the children in school are required to wash hands before they sit for school lunch programme.

Nutritious food is balanced

Another vital aspect of nutritious food is that it must be rich in various combinations to be able to fully benefit a child’s growth. Nutritional values include nutrients, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals provide a balanced diet including various nutritional values. We encourage people who wish to offer donation for NGOs to contribute for our kitchens or vehicles so that we are able to fetch the right ingredients for our mid-day meals on a daily basis.

Often in schools, the time allotted for lunch is barely half an hour in which the children also want to play and relax. As a result, they don’t get enough time to sit at leisure and eat everything that their lunch boxes have. This often kills the entire nutritional value of the food as it is not consumed in totality. The school lunch should not be a burden to children. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals have a lunch menu that can be consumed in less time and it doesn’t look like a burden to children. The lunch is the right blend of dairy, proteins, oils, vegetables and nutrients (click here to read more). In addition, we ensure that children get enough time to truly enjoy their lunch and get complete value from their meals.

Feeding the hungry is a great cause and there’s nothing more motivating for us to know that when we are feeding the children, we are also bringing them to school and contributing towards their future.

Through Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme in schools, we have been able to feed over 1.6 million children so far and recently accomplished 2 billion meals. If you wish to offer donation for an NGO, we encourage you to join our cause and contribute.

How Nutritional Value is Important for Children?

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

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Unfortunately, we live in a divided world where one section of the society is wasting food while the other is deprived of it. Children are on the receiving end because quite often they are not the bread-earners to be able to fetch food. Several children, who do get food, may not get a diet full of health and nutrition.  At Akshaya Patra, when our target of 2 billion meals was achieved recently, nutrition was still top of our priority. 

The Global Nutrition Report 2016 reveals data on the status of hunger, malnourishment and poor diets in children and adults as well. The report suggests that it’s even more difficult for little children who have to experience hunger and a hard time to get meals twice a day. Nutrition is required for children so as to ensure their growth and a hunger-free life. In India, however, the reality is major part of the population isn’t capable of arranging food for hungry children even once a day.

Nutritional status of children in India:

  • UNICEF reports, almost 20% of children less than 5 years are wasted due to undernutrition.
  • Approximately 61 million children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition
  • More than one-third of wasted children and three out of every ten stunted children in the world, live in India itself
  • Millions of children suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and calorie deficiency
  • The ratio of underweight children is in rural areas increase every year unexpectedly
  • Around 50% of the children under 5 years are underweight and prone to infections

 How’s nutrition vital for children?

Physical growth: Studies have proved that a child needs proper nutrition in order to achieve full height. The same is also true for the rest of his physical growth. There are children who suffer from several physical ailments due to lack of nutrition and good health.

Mental faculties: Health and nutrition pave way for the children to develop their mental faculties. Any pediatrician would testify that the right balance of omega fatty acids in children’s daily diet contribute towards brain activity, development and capabilities. Similarly, each ingredient in a balanced diet adds to a child’s mental growth. That’s precisely why we combined mid-day meals with education in schools and emphasised on providing healthy food for children.

Feeling of wellness: Children who get regular diet and nutritious food are often active in their school and on playground. Remember that children are still exploring the world with their little experience. They have more energy that needs channelising physically. This can happen only when a child has ample nutrition in his body. Such children have a greater sense of well-being and wellness.

Health and nutrition have a lot of value in a child’s growth. It goes without saying that for the overall mental and physical development of any human being, nutrition plays a vital role. It becomes crucial especially for children who are not aware what’s best for them. The children need help and guidance along with a regular supply of nutritious food. We have been providing mid-day meals in schools through our centralised kitchens in 24 locations across 10 states.

You can help children get the right balance of diet with just a click. Donate to charity today!