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Celebrate for a Cause

What is your Thanksgiving giveaway this year?

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The story goes like this. In 1620, a few pilgrims from Plymouth travelled in search of a place for resettlement. After they found a land, the Pilgrims began to settle down, but they had to survive a harsh winter. When spring arrived, they started farming with the help of a Native American, Squanto. Squanto taught the pilgrims how to cultivate corn, which proved successful in 1621. To celebrate this success, the pilgrims and the natives organised a feast which continues to be observed every year as a custom.

The arrival of Thanksgiving is always a delight; organising a get together with family and friends, offering a prayer of thanks and celebrating the feast. More than how Thanksgiving is celebrated, it is the significance of the festival which means a lot to all of us.

Harvesting (gathering of crops) is a global activity. Although Thanksgiving is celebrated majorly in the West, each country has its own harvest festival; Indian states celebrate harvest festivals during different times throughout the year.  Regardless of where we come from, we thank the Planet Earth for producing grains and pulses that are the sources of our survival. In India, almost half of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture and the grains produced by a farmer feed thousands of people every day. A farmer to a businessman to a buyer, we are all encountering each other through one basic need – food.

Keeping this thothanksgivingbyakshayapatraught in mind, Akshaya Patra launched its Mid-Day Meal Programme, which currently feeds millions of children every day with ingredients that are grown on land. Over 1.6 million school children feast on rice and sambar (in South India); roti and sabzi (in North India) that are freshly prepared in centralised and decentralised kitchens. The Foundation also runs food safety labs that evaluate the food ingredients from farm to plate.

This year, let your Thanksgiving giveaway be something special for children. How about sponsoring a child’s meal for an entire year? Rs 950 is all it takes to feed a child for a year!

We urge you to share the blessings of Thanksgiving with Akshaya Patra beneficiaries. The organisation strives to guard children against hunger by providing mid-day meals in schools, thus encouraging them to attend school regularly. Our mission now is to reach 5 million children by 2020!

We wish you a happy and a meaningful Thanksgiving!

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Food and Education

Nourishing Excellence through School Lunch

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On the occasion of World Food Day 2016, read about Akshaya Patra’s commitment to delivering high-quality meals to school children. The Foundation’s cause of food for education is the driving force behind its acclaimed Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Food is the most basic necessity that drives all life on earth and ensures that the circle of life continues without hindrance. Sadly, humanity, ever-expanding, is grappling with hunger and malnutrition, as a large number of people across the globe are deprived of their right to food security. The nations of the world recognise the need to tackle these issues, and hence, observe World Food Day 2016 on October 16, to commemorate the formation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.

For the past 16 years, Akshaya Patra has been devoted to the cause of ending classroom hunger, with a mission that no child should be deprived of education due to hunger. In 2016, the organisation reached an important milestone of having served 2 billion meals since its inception. Providing a meal a day for school children in 11 states across India is no mean feat. It involves strict adherence to quality – from the initial stages of procuring the ingredients to the cooking processes and the distribution of food. Here’s how the Foundation feeds school children – from crafting its meals to delivering them.

Procurement

The first step to a healthy meal is sourcing ingredients from credible sellers. Akshaya Patra trains its focus on avoiding middlemen and sourcing ingredients directly from manufacturers/farmers. The locations from which the ingredients are sourced are picked keeping in mind the logistics – sites closest to kitchens are chosen. The price for purchase of these materials is fixed by an internal joint committee and the Foundation continuously strives to reduce dependency on urban mandis.

Akshaya Patra follows Supplier Quality Management programme in selecting and approving vendors. These vendors, all of whom are licensed under Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and follow the authority’s specifications for raw materials, are pre-audited by the quality team prior to approval. The ingredients are sourced from various entities, pan India:

  • The pulses come from Gulbarga and Hubballi (Karnataka), Latur (Maharashtra), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Jaipur (Rajasthan)
  • Vegetables are sourced from Cuttack (Odisha), Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) and local farmers in different locations
  • Spices are bought from Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Byadgi (Karnataka), Salem (Tamil Nadu), Jodhpur and Kota (Rajasthan), and Sangli (Maharashtra)
  • Edible oil comes from Mangalore (Karnataka) and Kandla (Gujarat)
  • Dairy is bought from Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Anand (Gujarat), companies like Mother Dairy
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