Annamrita, formerly known as ISKCON Food Relief Foundation, has stepped up during the current lockdown to control the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide nutritious and hygienic meals to migrant workers, daily wage earners, slum dwellers and the poor living on streets across the nation. The Foundation launched ‘Operation Karuna’ to fight the scourge of hunger among the most vulnerable sections of society. Reliance Foundation and Ajay Piramal led Piramal Foundation have been key enablers with the former having pledged uninterrupted supplies of groceries and food grains during the lockdown period. Rotary Club of Bombay Queens Necklace has provided the much required initial funding for cooking large quantities of meals.
In the lockdown period since March 25, 2020 ~79 Lac meals have been distributed across the country at ~3.2 Lac meals per day. The Annamrita Foundation is inviting individuals, philanthropists, corporates and NGOs to come forward and contribute either small or large donations to this cause as there are vast numbers that are yet to receive this dire support.
Annamrita kitchens follow strict guidelines of hygiene and safety while preparing meals. Leveraging its unique ISO certified mass cooking technology, the power of a robust supply chain and industrial size kitchens, large quantities of meals are efficiently distributed to identified partner organizations/NGOs that have taken on the responsibility to ensure door-to-door delivery to the needy especially in slums. In Maharashtra, 81 tons of rice, 46 tons of pulses, 14 tons of cooking oil, 63.5 tons of vegetables, 4 tons of spices and 6 tons of salt have been utilized so far, to prepare these meals.
Dr. Radha Krishna Das, Annamrita Foundation said,“This is a difficult time for our country. Inspired by the teachings of our Founder, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, out of compassion towards our fellow living beings, we are committed to making a difference in their lives. The workers and volunteers of Annamrita are risking lives to do what is needed. We are grateful for the support we are receiving from our partner organizations as their active engagement has gone a long way to achieve the successful distribution of food. We request more people to join this initiative through their contributions so that we are able to reach many more that are currently facing acute hunger and shortage of food.”
- Donors: The generous partner organizations that have contributed funds and donated in kind include Reliance Foundation, Ajay Piramal led Piramal Foundation, Rotary Club of Mumbai Queens Necklace, TajSats, Cipla, Bharat Petroleum, Bajaj, Thermax, Mahanagar Gas Limited, JSW, TVS, Mafatlal, IIFL Finance, Pidilite, Mahyco Monsanto, Bayer, Pranic Healing, Sahachari Foundation and other organizations and entrepreneurs.
- Distribution Partners: Rotary Club of Bombay Queens Necklace, Giants Parivar, NESH52 – No One Ever Sleeps Hungry, Art of Living, YMCA, Arham Yuva Seva Group, IDF and others.
Apart from big organizations, a large number of individuals and corporate employees have come forward to pledge and donate amounts staring from as little as INR 100 to crores as per their capacity. The love and support from individuals has encouraged. Annamrita Foundation to carry forward the noble task of feeding thousands of underprivileged people across the country.
Other Initiatives during the Lockdown include:
- Municipal Staff Feeding Program: At the request of the Municipal Commissioner of MCGM, Mumbai, Annamrita Foundation is delivering meals to all the dedicated and hardworking staff of the municipality on emergency duty. Over 10,000 members of the staff from departments such as solid waste management, maintenance, public health, education, social justice, fire, water and disaster management from 24 Wards around the city are catered to.
- Hospital Staff Feeding Program: The real battle against COVID-19 is taking place in quarantine centers and hospitals with doctors, nurses and several assisting teams working to save patients from the jaws of the disease. Annamrita Foundation is working round-the-clock to deliver meals to these hospitals and quarantine centers in Mumbai.