Why Children Need a Wholesome Meal

What makes the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme significant? It’s because it feeds the children with wholesome meal. This kind of meal aids in growth of their body and mind. During their childhood, children are more prone to develop at least one of the micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc or folate. They must be given a wholesome meal in sufficient quantity to ensure their body develops with their age.

Food for children

The mid-day meal programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO that has kitchens across India. One of them is in Surat. From their state-of-the-art kitchen in Surat, the meal is supplied to various schools in and around Surat.

The NGO is feeding the children in Surat as part of its nation-wide programme that’s run in collaboration with the Government. This programme lays emphasis on the wholesomeness of the meals because these meals directly impact children’s growth. The NGO, that began operations in the year 2000, works in active collaboration with the government and government-run schools in order to feed the children.

In Surat, the school children are especially excited as they are getting their favourite meals every day served by the NGO’s volunteers. As part of the Hunger Action Month, the NGO is trying to take mid-day meals to more schools in Surat and other parts of Gujarat.

The contributors or donors to the NGO get the benefit of 80G deduction in income tax. That way more donors are encouraged to contribute and help in feeding the children. However, it’s not just the 80G deduction that encourages people. Many people in the city take out time to volunteer in the kitchen. They help the staff in cooking the meals and serving it to the children.

The kitchen of this NGO in Surat especially uses pulses such as Toor dal, fortified soy dal, green gram whole, Urad dal, peas, Moong dal, cow pea, green gram sprouts, soy products like- chunks, flakes, Gram dal, Bengal gram whole, channa dal etc. while preparing the meals. Since the menu is already in place, the meals are always healthy and wholesome and benefit the children.

Feeding the children with wholesome meals is significant today if we want our children to experience a healthy growth. You can join us this month as we observe Hunger Action Month and attempt to eliminate hunger among children in India.

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Her story teaches you two life lessons – to dream big and to save water!

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Vidhi is a student of Class VII in Surat, Gujarat. Her story was documented by Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Surat which provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children in India.

Today – a student, tomorrow – a doctor. That’s Vidhi’s dream. Although she is yet to decide a particular subject to specialize, she is well aware that the path will invite hard work. “I know it will be difficult and I will have to work hard for it, but I am willing to do it,” she says. We believe it’s her determination to experience her dream someday.

Vidhi, like many students, enjoys participating in extracurricular activities such as dancing, drawing and elocution competitions, etc.  The last time she participated in an elocution competition, her topic was ‘The importance of saving water’. “If we stop wasting water by doing something as simple as turning our taps off properly, some of our water scarcity problems will definitely be solved.” She also spoke about implementing drip irrigation system as an effective measure to minimise water usage in agriculture.

As an NGO in Surat, Akshaya Patra which provides mid-day meal is encouraging 1,43,293 children to attend school. Vidhi is also an Akshaya Patra beneficiary, who apart from receiving education also enjoys nutritious mid-day meals. She says, “The food provided to us is good for health as it contains many nutrients required by our body. We get soybean, Dal Bhaat, Dal Dhokli, Thepla, etc. I like soybean and Dal the most, but I also like other food items that we get.”

Vidhi’s father works in a mall, while her mother works as a house help. Because the day begins early in a hectic situation, there’s an assurance for the family that Vidhi will be given food in school. “Nobody will like it if Akshaya Patra stops providing meals to our school, because then, we will have to get our lunchbox from home and that will be difficult for most of us.”

Read more stories of Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries at: Stories of Children


Akshaya Patra’s primary focus continues to be Mid-Day Meal Programme which aims to end classroom hunger among school going children. In this journey, your contribution will make a difference for many children. You can donate for education in India by choosing to sponsor a child or more!