ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (“IFRF’, the “Trust” or “We”) was formed under the auspices of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) with the twin objectives of eradicating hunger and promoting education amongst the underprivileged sections of the society and thereby ensuring their socio-economic development. IFRF is a non-profit, non-religious, non-sectarian public charitable trust formed on April 23, 2004 and registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation is a non-profit, non-religious, nonsectarian charitable trust and has been organizing the Midday Meal Program in other cities besides Mumbai. This project is being implemented in Government aided and Municipal Primary schools for the benefit of underprivileged children, it is done without any commercial motive and the benefits will be available to students at large without any discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, creed or sex.
Since the launch, we have set up four state-of-the-art kitchens in Maharashtra. As of now, we cater to approximately 1,86,000 students in, and around Mumbai, Mira Road, Palghar and Nigdi. Most of these students come from slums and tribal areas. The purpose of implementing this scheme is to facilitate the Government in increasing the enrollment in these schools, reducing the dropout rate and improving the attendance. Also as these are the formative years for the future adult, nutrition is of prime importance.
Besides Maharashtra we have set up kitchens at Delhi, Noida, Faridabad, Kurukshetra, Jaipur, Tirupati and Ujjain. The total number of beneficiaries we cater to across from all these centres is more than 7,50,000 underprivileged children every day in year ending 31st March 2011.
The professionally managed Midday Meal Program has trained cooks, who use the most advanced technology in cooking under hygienic conditions using fresh and pure ingredients. The meals are packed and sealed in specially designed stainless steel containers and are transported in vehicles most suited for the logistics. Cooked in the most cost-effective manner, the nutritious, sumptuous and sanctified meal consists of dall, chapatti and vegetables and in some states kichdi – a mix of rice, dal and vegetables, cooked in pure ghee with spices and tomatoes.
Origins of Food for Life
Food for Life (FFL) is food relief program with a difference — the food is sanctified food prasadam, offered first to Lord Krishna, thus providing invaluable spiritual benefit while satisfying the pangs of hunger.
In 1974, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, shocked and saddened upon seeing a group of village children in Mayapur (near Kolkata) fighting with street dogs over scraps of food, told his disciples: “No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry . . . I want you to immediately begin serving food.” Hearkening to the Prabhupada plea, ISKCON devotees around the world were inspired to expand that original effort into a global network of free food kitchens, cafes, vans, and mobile services, establishing daily delivery routes in many large cities around the world.
In 1966, Srila Prabhupada began the famous “Sunday Feasts” at ISKCON’s fledgling Second Avenue storefront in New York. He personally helped cook and serve the feasts. Word of this delicious, free 10-course meal spread quickly and soon was attended by 300-400 people each week.
ISKCON expanded and the Sunday Feast became a weekly event in major cities worldwide. Wherever an ISKCON temple was built, prasad feasts would also take place. Srila Prabhupada often referred to the Hare Krishna movement as the “kitchen religion.” These Sunday Feasts formed the basis for the current Food for Life program.
In the 1970’s, ISKCON expanded its vision of prasad distribution and developed the Food for Life program to target food distribution to the less fortunate. In many cities special food distribution vehicles were purchased and daily delivery routes to low-income areas began. Today, the program distributes tens of thousands of free meals everyday to needy people of St. Petersburg, Durban, Bangalore, London, Mumbai and over 100 other cities worldwide.
Main IFRF website is www.annamrita.org