Kurukshetra, Haryana, 25 September, 2019: he land of Mahabharata and most importantly the birthplace of Bhagavad Gita captures everyone’s imagination. A highly revered and sacred place even before the aforementioned occurred can be summed up by the inaugurating shloka (1.1) recognising it as “Dhanarmkshetra”- Land of Dharma – Righteousness. A place where “Charity, pious work is the order of the day”.
One such organization ISKCON Food Relief Foundation now known as Annamrita has been relentlessly pursuing the charitable mood and serving delicious and nutritious food to children of government schools for the past 10 years successfully in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana. Formed on April 23, 2004 under the Bombay Public Trusts Act (1950), Iskcon Food Relief Foundation believes in providing children with the right nutrition to support their education.
The foundation works daily to cook meals for more than 35,000 children of different schools of the three blocks of Kurukshetra district namely Thanesar, Pehowa and Ladwa. The foundation aims to provide the right nutrition and energy to the less fortunate children. Their motivating thought is the liberation of the underprivileged children from malnourishment and illiteracy. If children study in schools with a satisfied stomach, they can concentrate more on their education.
Interestingly the Shahabad and Babain are the other two blocks of the district where Annamrita doesn’t feed meals and clamor from the school children is so much. Says Anita a school student, “Why step motherly treatment is meted to us and we are not fed this sumptuous meal”. Teachers and schools prepare the meals in school premises. The foundation is pained at the helplessness of these students.
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation is very particular about the hygiene level and quality of the food prepared. Hence, it has a state-of-the-art kitchen at Mirzapur village, where rigorous quality checks are taken care of at all times. Food is cooked with the help of the latest technology that helps preserve the most amount of nutritional value in it. Foundation subsidises meals and manages the surplus deficit through Corporate Social Responsibility funds.
Even for four or five school children studying in a school at the outskirts of the district, a dedicated vehicle plies everyday and serves meals. It is easy for the foundation to cite various genuine reasons of viability, delivery cost etc to skip these schools or deliver it to a nearby school, but the selfless and missionary zeal motivation ensures delivery irrespective of the cost.
The work at the kitchen starts at 4 AM daily, and the meals get dispatched within three hours to different locations. Delivery of the food is done with the utmost care in spillage proof packaging. Each container is sealed because of concerns relating to safety and freshness of food. Each process is closely looked at by many officials and in-charges so that hygiene level does not get compromised.
The menu for meals is curated with the nutrition content of food in mind. All the meals incorporate the right amount of vitamins and minerals through rotis, rice, dals and vegetables. With health and taste being the primary focus of ISKCON Food Relief Foundation, they ensure each step of the mid-day meal initiative is taken rightly.
The raw material for the meals is procured with the help of the state government and examined for its standards. “Our only aim is to do social good by feeding the hungry school children of our country. We work very seriously towards providing the best possible meals to the maximum number of children possible,” says Dhananjaya Krishna Das, Vice Chairman, Annamrita.