|Akshaya Patra Foundation observes 20th year of providing free meals to kids|
GUWAHATI, Nov 22 - The Akshaya Patra Foundation which celebrated its 20th anniversary recently, had begun its operations in Guwahati in 2010 and today, it serves freshly prepared, nutritious and tasty mid-day meals to 39,249 children at 546 schools across Kamrup and Kamrup Metro districts. “Serving children safe, nutritious and hygienic food has always been our priority. With the responsibility of feeding millions of children every day, we take all necessary steps to ensure that our mid-day meals are not just safe and hygienic, but nutritious and tasty as well. Our scientifically designed menu ensures the highest quality nutrition, regional suitability, food diversity, taste and local acceptability. Every day, we ensure that sufficient food is delivered to all the assigned schools,” Vijay Pandit Dasa, vice president, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Guwahati, said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation distributed around 25,000 essential grocery kits equivalent to 10.5 lakh meals in Kamrup, Kamrup Metro and Goalpara districts to the needy and affected people under its ‘COVID Food Relief’ effort. “We have also distributed around 6,500 essential grocery kits equivalent to 2.7 lakh meals in remote areas of Tripura to the needy and affected people under our ‘COVID Food Relief’ effort. Besides Guwahati, we have a small kitchen in North Tripura which feeds 1,000 students every day. Very soon we will start operations in Jorhat where construction of a centralised kitchen is in the finishing stage. We are likely to start operations in Majuli, Itanagar and Agartala in the coming years with the support of the Government,” Dasa said.
He added that awards and recognition like the Padma Shri, Gandhi Peace Prize, National Award for Child Welfare, BBC World Service’s Global Food Champion, and Outlook Poshan Special Jury Award bear testimony to Akshaya Patra’s efforts towards the well-being of children and communities.
“We will continue to keep children and communities central to all our endeavours and strive to contribute to their food and nutrition security to the best of our abilities. In partnership with the Government of India and various state governments and the inestimable support of many philanthropic donors and well-wishers, Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across five schools to becoming the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme, serving wholesome food to over 1.8 million children from 19,039 schools across 12 states and two Union Territories in India,” Dasa said.
It was on November 11, 2000 that The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s first kitchen was inaugurated by the then Minister of Human Resource Development Murli Manohar Joshi, and the Chief Minister of Karnataka, SM Krishna.