Author: Chef Sanjeev Kapoor
Millennials and Gen Z are driving societal changes whether it is creating awareness about the environment, philanthropy, or just healthy eating. But hold it. Are these young adults familiar about hunger as the latest raging and real issue at hand? Many youngsters I personally interact with, are blissfully unaware of the ‘hunger epidemic’ and the ‘hidden hunger syndrome’. Without spouting too much of statistics, let me give you the bigger picture. From a Global Hunger Index (2019) standpoint, India has been slipping up in ranking year- on- year to reach a low of being ranked 102 from among 117 countries in 2019. This literally means that more Indians go to sleep hungry, adding to the alarming situation arising due to the pandemic.
Having been associated with Akshaya Patra for many years, I must admit, that I am no stranger to the concept of ‘hidden hunger’. I have first-hand knowledge about hunger amongst India’s large populace. With COVID-19 taking over all our lives and especially underprivileged people, the dual challenges of hunger and malnutrition have really opened up another Pandora’s box. With schools shut down, millions of children who depended on mid-day meals as the only source of a nutritious meal for the day, have been facing starvation. So, what does it mean for us as a country? Are we to continue ignoring our poor citizens of a healthy childhood and later adulthood?
My own experience with caring for others has been soul satisfying. My endeavours at connecting with the disadvantaged have taught me many life lessons.
Nutritious food is a security blanket for all children who make up this country’s future generation. Allow me to cut the chase and come to the point. In India, September is being observed as a National Month of Nutrition. (Rashtriya Poshan Maah)*. In view of this, Akshaya Patra Foundation has launched the ‘Happiness Bags Programme’*. This is an initiative for the Foundation’s mid-day meal beneficiary students, who will receive a Happiness Bag with dry groceries and education supplies to help meet their nutritional needs and cover the educational gap that these students are currently facing. The Happiness Bag humbly priced at ₹550 provides nutrition, immunity, health, hygiene as well as educational materials to disadvantaged families. The nutritional value of the food contents in this bag comprise of protein, iron, iodine, and glucose-rich foods and the bag also includes an activity book to engage the student.
Being observed on September 5th, International Day of Charity is around the corner, and the day is of special relevance this year. Having seen so much of disruption all around, perhaps every individual can take a small step, more so the young folks. So, all young Indians reading this blog, make a difference and contribute towards ‘Nutrition on Someone’s Plate’ by sponsoring one ‘Happiness Bag’ this month and make someone very happy 😊.