The project is aimed to provide balanced food to the students of under-fed Schools of Municipal Corporation without consideration of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or gender. Basic Intent is to encourage the parents to force their children to go to school and improve their intellect so that they start competing their counterparts in the rich and private schools. In the longer run they become an asset to the society and start contributing positively to the society.
There is an important obligation we have towards our society. It is imperative that we feed the children in the school as there are two type of classes in the society:
a) To create Society.
b) To disrupt society.
If we do not contribute to the society by academically educating these children, these would be picked by the anti-social elements who would impart criminal and unlawful education to these children. Slowly and steadily we would be surrounded by these criminals and eventually our life and presence in the society would be jeopardized.
The history of ISKCON Food Relief Foundation starts with a story of compassion. Looking out of a window one day in Mayapur, a village near Calcutta, His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada saw a group of children fighting with street dogs over scraps of food. From this simple, yet heart breaking incident, came the determination that: No one within a ten mile radius of our center should go hungry.
It is his inspiration which helped us to create The ISKCON Food Relief Foundation as it is today. We began this initiative with the vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of Education because of hunger.”
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF) believes in providing children with the right nutrition. To support their education. IFRF program is based on the belief that ‘you are what you eat’. Therefore one nutritious meal a day brings thousands of children to school. You can help every child in this country get an education, if you donate that one wholesome meal. Presently we cater over 50,000 meals everyday from our centralized kitchen in Tirupati.
Midday Meal is a strategic program of the Government of India, and is being implemented by Annamrita Foundation also known as ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF) in select schools across the country. The aim of this project is to liberate children from the vicious cycle of Malnourishment and Illiteracy.It is a not-for-profit, non-religious, non-sectarian public charitable organizations formed on April 23, 2004 and registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950
“Annamrita” literally translated means “Food as Pure as Nectar”.
Annamrita believes in providing children with the right nutrition to support their education. Our program is based on the belief that ‘you are what you eat’. Therefore one nutritious meal prepared with compassion and love, the way a mother would prepare a meal for her child, brings thousands of children to school daily.
Our aim is to Promote Education One Meal at a Time by providing nutritious, wholesome, hygienic meals prepared in hi-tech kitchens, which not only nourish the body but also nurture the soul.
Hunger kills 9 million people every year and 24,000 people every day and out of them 18,000 are children. 60% of the children in India go to sleep hungry every night. Half the children in the age group of 6 to 14 years do not have access to primary education. We feel, by subjecting children to hunger, we rob them of their God given potential. India's progress in reducing child malnutrition is very slow.
The proven path to helping the poor, is by educating them. Providing food works as an important factor that encourages education; this in turn enables overall development transforming lives and communities.
A hungry child cannot be expected to have an urge for education. We provide nutritious meals to children - with a vision to encourage education amongst the poor.
Many impoverished children performed poorly in school due to short attention spans associated with extreme hunger. Other children either did not enroll in school, or dropped out at a young age choosing to seek work during the school day to earn money to feed themselves and their families.
Education can empower a child to explore his potentials, earn a decent living and build a better future. The Government of India has made education for children in the age group of 6 to 14 years compulsory, but poverty restricts the under privileged children from getting the full value of the educational experience. Hunger obstructs education in yet another way. It affects clear thinking and productive working in children. Also medical science has proved the most of the cognitive developments occur in the age group of 6 and 12 years. Hunger and malnutrition during these years impair cognitive developments thus permanently crippling child for life time.
Earlier, school meals was irregular and in many places non-existent. Responding to pressure from the people, the Supreme Court of India passed an order on November 28, 2001 which mandated: "Cooked midday meal is to be provided in all the government and government-aided primary schools in all the states."
ISKCON FOOD RELEIF FOUNDATION partakes this responsibility and bringing back smiles back in to the lives of so many young children.
In designing the ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION school meal program we hoped to accomplish the following aims:
1. Increased enrollment in schools
2.Increased attendance in schools
3. Reduced dropout rate
4. Improved performance of students in class in terms of better attention span and academic progress.
5. Improved nutritional status of students
In all of the centers surveyed, they reported a significant increase in enrolment. There was an increase of as much as 41% enrollment in Class 1 students during the first year of program implementation.
ISignificant improvements in attendance were measured in the centers where the survey was conducted. Overall attendance in the schools measured increased by a total of 11.67%.
IEven teachers and parents reported that more children are attending school after ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION started its operations
I“Absenteeism has drastically reduced after the introduction of these meals…”
Close to 85% of Heads of institutions/teachers across all locations reported that the proportion of students getting higher grades has increased, while the proportion of students getting lower grades has reduced.
After having wholesome meal in the afternoon, the attention span and participation in classroom activities has improved for all students. As not all of these schools have a grading system, we are unable to provide comprehensive statistical data required.
Impact of ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION midday meal on nutritional status
Around 78.2 % of all parents across all locations perceived that their child’s health had improved due to having the meal at school.
Each wholesome meal made at Annamrita Foundation goes through a set of rigorous processes and procedures carefully controlled under a FSMS – Food Safety Management System.
The salient features of this system are:
The procurement process entails 3 crucial factors – Cost, Quality and Delivery – on which the entire process is based.
It is further divided into four steps:
Process of Procurement
Cleaning and Storage
Our kitchens list a detailed sheet of the consumption requirements like grains, lentils, spices, vegetables on a two day basis. Next, we shortlist a FSSAI certified licensed vendor, by sending the vendor's ingredient samples for testing to NABL accredited laboratories.
To maintain packing standards, we ensure methods such as sortex cleaning, packing in clean bags, labeling and cleanliness of the delivery vehicles are in place. Raw materials and ingredients that go into every meal are inspected and sorted for quantity and quality standards as per FIFO – First In and First Out method in turn maintaining the high cleaniness and hygiene standards.
Rice – the best, most nutritive and unquestionably the most widespread staple food consumed around the world.
For the Mid-Day Meals, we receive raw rice from the Government as per our forecasting of the periodic consumption. However, this rice contains impurities and follows a rigourous and elaborate process of cleanliness.
First, the rice is bagged, heat sealed with PVC sheets and fumigated as the initial step of cleaning.
Rice grains are further cleaned with the help of a Separator and Classifier MTRA machine, where coarse and fine impurities are removed.
This process removes the foreign materials the same size as rice grains via a gravity Separator machine.
Any dust or impurities sticking to the body of the rice particle are removed by polishing. However, in this polishing process the rice kernel's tip remains intact thereby preserving the nutritive value.
Here rice particles pass through 190 channels fitted with 6 cameras in a sortex machine where each grain is scanned through powerful, hi-res camera to check parameters such as size – the length, width of each grain, colour – discoloured grains are removed.
After all these processes, what remains is clean, impurity free rice ready for cooking in the Annamrita Kitchen.
The cooking process in the Annamrita kitchen can be divided into three categories – Cleansing, Cutting and Cooking.
Firstly, the kitchens are thoroughly washed, cleaned to ensure zero contamination and are fumigated, pest controlled every fortnight.
Secondly, our cooks are trained to sanitize themselves before entering the kitchen. Moreover, our staff wear protective gear to prevent contamination plus, every 6 months they undergo medical tests to certify them against any communicable diseases.
Thirdly, our kitchen is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipments and machines made of food-grade stainless steel. Moreover, water is tested at regular intervals for various key parameters for purity.
Fourthly, all food ingredients are thouroughly washed and rinsed prior to cooking.
For potatoes, a potato-peeler effectively removes the skin for further procedure. Vegetables are cut to different sizes after thourough cleaning. Each kitchen has the best technology available for bulk cooking, including heavy weight vegetable-cutting and potato-peeling machines, vegetable crushers and vegetable grinder.
All our food is cooked by the steaming method to ensure maximum retention of taste, colour and nutrients. Based on each day's requirement, we cook the meal in batches and while cooking we maintain the right cooking temperature (above 90 degree centigrade) to ensure safety, high nutritional quality and long shelf life of the food.
Each of these processes are intrinsically related in such a way that each meal is consistently tasty, nutritious and hygienic. The unparalleled taste of purity is due to secret ingredients added : love, devotion and compassion. Over 37 regional recipes served as per local tastes. Along with the principles of safe food handling, we use only fresh ingredients and also clean our kitchens on a daily basis to record consistent high hygiene standards.
Once the food is ready, it's checked and documented for colour, temperature, appearance, flavour and consistency before filling in the containers. Containers are air dried after washing and sanitization, and then filled with food and sealed with a colour coded security seal. The security seal is an important aspect and schools are instructed not to accept containers if the seal is broken. Thus, the sealed containers along with serving spoons are loaded in the delivery vehicles to reach respective schools well before lunch time.
Thus, everyday 418 cooks prepare wholesome meals in 20 Annamrita kitchens & 359 vehicles carry hope and promise to over a million children in 6566 schools across India.
Ever felt frustrated and sad when you see a child being deprived of basic necessities of life which we often take for granted? Here is an opportunity for you to get up and put your thoughts into action.
We thank many generous people like you who have put their thoughts into action by helping these underprivileged children.
You too can help needy children to live their childhood with smiles on their faces.
ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION is promoting and encouraging the education of underprivileged children because we believe that education can unlock the vicious and self-perpetuating cycle of hunger and poverty.
Donation is the fastest and easiest way in which you could help these underprivileged children.
Millions of hopeful children are waiting for you; even a small contribution can make a big difference.
There are several ways to donate to ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION to provide a good standard of education so that the children will have better opportunities in life.
» To free underprivileged children from the pangs of hunger
» To empower them with an access to education
» To enable them think clearly and work effectively
» To alleviate malnutrition problem
» To foster development of rural and semi urban areas
» To fulfill our social responsibility
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