As major holidays approach, the spirit of karma yoga affects more people. Every tradition encourages giving selflessly to those in need during certain occasions–especially on birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, and major holidays. Feeding the poor is a tradition in every country and religion.
To those looking to feed the hungry and starving this holiday season (Diwali is October 26), an organization that recently came to my attention may be worth consideration. It is Akshaya Patra Foundation.
For all of India’s technological and economic progress, a vast swath of the population has been left behind. India suffers from sub-Saharan levels of poverty. An astonishing 33%, perhaps 40%, of the malnourished, hungry children in the world are in India. They do not get even one meal a day.
Akshaya Patra, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization was started in 2000 feeding 1,500 children a day. With subsidies from the Indian government, in a public-private partnership, it now serves 1.3 million children in poor public schools across India. Its aim is to reach many more as the need is so overwhelming. Children come to school because of the free, hot, hygienic, and nutritious cooked meal. They stay in school. For many, it is their only meal of the day.
Feeding a child for the entire year costs just $31 and with government subsidies that comes down to $11.50. A dollar goes a very long way! Of all the money they raise, 20% goes toward operational costs, according to Madhu Sridhar, the president and CEO of Akshaya Patra Foundation USA. This includes administrative, fund-raising, and salary expenses.
PBS featured Akshaya Patra in a segment seen on http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec11/indialunch_10-03.html
Anyone interested in more information can visit www.akshayapatra.org, donate online at www.foodforeducation.org, get in touch with Madhu at 781-438-3090 ext. 1, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Akshaya Patra’s application for independent evaluation of charities is under consideration by Give Well and Guide Star. Madhu told me they have not been in the country long enough to establish a rating.