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World Food Day – Rise Against Hunger

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7.8 billion people are living on Earth, out of which there are over 690 million people who are affected by hunger. The ongoing crisis is estimated to push a further of 130 million people in this bracket by the end of 2020. The numbers are huge and this is why there is a need to get together to help people. The theme for this World Food Day is very apt, ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. – Our Actions are Our Future.’

People all over the globe are facing a food crisis and there is an urgency to act for the betterment of people facing hardships of food. 16th October every year is celebrated as World Food Day. It is in our hands to make a difference in the lives of the needy people and make Zero Hunger possible.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO that works primarily towards providing mid-day meals to children studying in Government and Government-aided schools of India. In this unprecedented COVID crisis, the Foundation is serving meals to the needy. As on 6th October 2020, a total of 9-crore meals was served to low-income and marginalised sections of society.

Ways to make a difference on #WorldFoodDay2020 with Akshaya Patra:

Serve cooked meals to individuals
In the ongoing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, Akshaya Patra is serving hot and freshly-cooked meals to needy people hailing from challenging socio-economic backgrounds. So far, 5,19,56,876 cooked meals have been served.

Support needy families with grocery kits
To help marginalised families, Akshaya Patra is distributing grocery kits that contain dry ration to help them sustain in this crisis hour. Each kit is filled with food items like rice, pulses, spices, oil and vegetables. As on 6th October 2020, 8,53,534 grocery kits have been served.

Spread joy with happiness kits
To continue its service towards children, happiness kits are distributed to mid-day meal beneficiaries. Each happiness kit contains nutrition and immunity-rich food, hygiene items and educational supplies. So far, a total of 1,17,959 happiness kits have been distributed.

Feed children and lactating mothers with Anganwadi kits
As a part of the Anganwadi Kits Programme, feed a nursing mother and her child with 2 kits that take care of their meals. Glucose biscuits, Horlicks and milk powder are provided along with spices and pulses.

Make this World Food Day meaningful by feeding the needy people. Amid this COVID-19 crisis, every donation provides the most basic necessity – food. Show your generosity by making online donations towards Akshaya Patra and helping low-income sections of the society survive.

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Food and Education

Mid-Day Meal – Adding Value to Health & Education

midday meal scheme

Imagine a scenario where you are neither influenced by the lifestyle of towns and cities nor have incessant access to even the basic necessities like water and electricity. On seeing your parents struggle to give you the best, you think, ‘I will study hard to become a successful person and give the best life to my parents.’

Similar is the story of Indu, a beneficiary of the Mid-Day Meal Programme, who wants to become a doctor to cure her grandmother – her sole caretaker, and provide free treatment to many like her. Know more about Indu here.

Mid-day meals are a major intervention to bring children to school on a daily basis. There are more than 120 million children in India who receive school lunch as a part of the Government’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Most of these children go to school just because they get free and healthy meals that they otherwise may not be able to afford.

History of Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India

The roots of the Mid-Day Meal Programme can be traced back to the times of pre-independence, where the British Administration introduced mid-day meals in 1925, followed by the French administration in Union Territory – Puducherry in 1930. From the year 1962-1963 school year onwards this programme was introduced in the states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and the rest of the States of India in the same order. By 1990-1991, twelve States had implemented the programme.

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was officially launched in India in 1995 to provide adequate nutritious food to children and has been through many changes since. In 2001, the Supreme Court of India mandated all Government and Government-assisted schools to provide cooked mid-day meals to all the students.

The objectives of the Mid-Day Meal Programme are:
• Protecting children from classroom hunger that limits their focus in class.
• Improving nutritional status of children studying in Government and Government-aided schools.
• Increasing school enrolment rates and attendance rates.
• Encouraging socialisation amongst children regardless of caste or creed.
• Creating employment opportunities for women.
To facilitate the efforts, many non-profit organisations have partnered with the Government to combat classroom hunger and malnutrition in India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India that has been feeding school meals to children since 2000 and has been recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme.

Akshaya Patra’s Reach in India
• 18,00,907 children
• 19,039 schools
• 52 locations
• 12 States & 2 Union Territories

According to UNESCO Institute of Statistics, around 2.8 million children, or more, aged between six and 13 years old, do not go to school. In a situation like this, free, unlimited meals are potential incentives for them to come to school. Akshaya Patra strives to support more children from challenging socio-economic backgrounds with regular school meals. It aims to provide unlimited food for education to 5 million children, every day by the end of 2025.

You can donate online to be a part of Akshaya Patra’s mission to make a difference in the lives of children.

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