Valuing food production and tackling food wastage in Akshaya Patra

“Indians waste as much food as the whole of United Kingdom consumes”, cites CSR journal. Not a pretty picture for a country where millions go hungry, every day. The deplorable hunger condition in India can be gauged from the below facts:

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In addition, according to the FAO’s (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations) estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, India is home to the largest undernourished population in the world with:

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While the country is battling these statistics, spending capacity and consumption trends among consumers have only worsened the hunger scenario. Despite being in such a critical state where India cannot afford to waste any food, it is reported that Rs. 88,800 crores worth of food wasted in India per year. Apart from ‘food loss’ i.e. wastage of raw food products during harvest, storage or in transit, mainly due to inadequate and disorganised infrastructure and supply chain, ‘food waste’ i.e. wastage of food at the consumer level. Below are some of the areas that contribute to maximum food wastage:

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And, ironically, India is home to both ‘food waste’ and ‘food loss’!

However, kudos to the several organisations that have directed all their efforts towards countering the prevalent hunger situation. One such organisation is The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an Indian charitable trust serving mid-day meals at government schools. The main inspiration to establish this Foundation came from a heartfelt incident many years ago. One day, during a visit to Mayapur, a village near Calcutta, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada saw a group of children fighting with stray dogs over scraps of food. This incidence left Srila Prabhupada immensely disturbed, and he set forth a resolve that no child within a radius of ten miles from our centre should go hungry. This motivating and determined resolution led to the establishment of Akshaya Patra in June 2000 with the core objective to feed the children so that they get nourishment and education too.

Initially, the Foundation served cooked meals to just 1,500 children in five government schools of Bangalore. This Indian charitable trust is cognizant of the importance of food in the lives of people, especially children. Hence, to maximise the potential of the school lunch programme, it employs state-of-the-art kitchens, innovative technology, and smart engineering to cook and deliver nutritious and hygienic meals to each school on each working day. The Foundation operates centralised kitchens in urban and semi-urban regions and decentralised kitchens in remote areas. The centralised kitchens are highly mechanised units with the capacity to cook up to 100,000 meals, whereas decentralised kitchens are smaller units operated by Self-Help Groups under the supervision of Akshaya Patra’s kitchen in-charges and catering to a group of schools in a particular area.

It is imperative that such large-scale cooking requires a lot of planning and structured processes so that neither raw materials nor cooked meals reach the trash bin. Hence, Akshaya Patra mandatorily follows some standard operating processes such as:

SEO-Blog-4-post-4The above-mentioned measures have helped Akshaya Patra combat food wastage in its purview of operations. And, by doing so, this Indian charitable trust is making nutrition-rich food available to over 1.6 million children on every school day. So that this NGO can multiply its reach, it has made the online donation for charity available to all for easy and safe transactions. Every contribution towards this NGO will be directed and utilised in ensuring food security for children through regular school meals. Additionally, this lunch will support children in continuing school, concentrating better in their lessons, and participating actively in co-curricular activities such as sports and cultural.

Needless to say, if we can contain food wastage, it will benefit many millions of lives, not just in India but globally too. It is estimated that if we can save one-fourth of the food that is currently being wasted globally then we will have enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world which also includes the 194.6 million hungry people in India. The concern of food wastage is so critical that it receives a clear mention in the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 stating, “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.” Hence, when there is adequate food production, and availability of advanced technologies for harvesting, storing and disbursing food products, than the onus lies on us to ensure that every citizen avails the right to food, and every child is nourished and healthy.

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This NGO in Ahmedabad wants to take children back to school

Zinkal Wariya is a beneficiary of an NGO that serves mid-day meals in schools of Ahmedabad. A student of standard VIII at Bhadaj village in Ahmedabad, Zinkal wishes to join the army in future. Apart from sports and her passion, she looks forward to school for the nutritious mid-day meals served by an Indian charitable trust. She knows the day menus now that involve daal bhaat, subzi-roti, khichdi, sukhdi, daal dhokli and the likes.

Donate for a cause

Like Zinkal, several children in Ahmedabad are motivated to come to school regularly because they are being served nutritious meals every day by the NGO in Ahmedabad Akshaya Patra. These children today feel fearless about their future because they don’t go back home empty stomach and have enough energy to study throughout the day. Their basic nutrition needs are fulfilled to a great extent through the healthy meals served by the Indian charitable trust. This NGO in Ahmedabad also serves children across India.

Through this, the NGO in Ahmedabad aims to address both hunger and education for children. The NGO is targeting remote schools in Ahmedabad in order to reach out to more and more children with wholesome lunch. For that, the charitable trust needs resources so that Indian children don’t miss schools due to hunger.

Donating to a charity like this should come more like a responsibility towards an educated society for future. Children who grow up having nutritious food and valuable exposure to education found a more civilised and a more sensible society. As adults, they would be motivated to educating their children to make India a developed society. Such a society is able to nurture innovators and positive influencers who have the power to change the world.

The NGO is committed to bring more children to schools in Ahmedabad. Your contribution would help them in their endeavour Donate to this Indian Charitable Trust.

What’s inside the wholesome plate served by a noted NGO in Ahmedabad?

What’s on your plate today? That is the primary agenda of a noted NGO in Ahmedabad serving wholesome lunch to school children every day, along with other children across the country. What are the elements in this special plate that make it truly wholesome?

Healthy happy children

Ahmedabad, among other things, is known for its delicious Gujarati Thaali (plate). So when this Indian charitable trust set out to serve wholesome meals to children, they were aware of the challenge. They decided to include nutritious elements from the traditional Gujarati Thaali and rotate the menu throughout the week. The menu that this NGO decided to serve in Ahmedabad begins with Soya Chunks Pulav, Mix Dal and Thepla on Mondays; Tur dal khichdi, Sabji with Kabuli Chana, Thepla and Chakri on Tuesdays; Jeera rice with Kabuli Chana, Dal Dhokli and biscuits on Wednesdays and so on.

There’s a good mix of pulses, vegetables and cereals apart from milk products, nuts and fruits. This Indian charitable trust understands what children need most – a balanced diet. This means the elements in every day’s lunch plate involves a good mix of proteins and carbohydrates.

This NGO in Ahmedabad is no other than Akshaya Patra that serves mid-day meals to school children in the city and also in other locations across the country. The charitable trust makes wholesome meal fun for Indian children by including sweets, milk products, fruits and nuts. Of course, local flavours play a major role in these meals which makes them interesting for school children.

Just like in Ahmedabad, every city has a set of local meals that have nutritious ingredients suitable for specific climate and this is duly recognised by the NGO. For instance, Thepla is a regular part of everyday meals in Ahmedabad, so the NGO includes it in almost every other day during the mid-day meal programme. Thepla contains fenugreek seeds, whole wheat flour, gram flour, pear millet flour, sourgham flour among others that are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, calcium, dietary fibre and several dietary minerals.

If you think, every child in India deserves to get all the elements on his lunch plate every day, donate to charity today.