Modernised kitchens of Akshaya Patra in Gujarat
Posted: Sep 13, 2020
The Mid-Day Meal Programme was started in Gujarat in 1984. It was the second state to implement mid-day meals after Tamil Nadu. It was observed that after a certain period there was a growth in the state’s literacy rate. As per the 2011 census, the average annual literacy rate in Gujarat was 10.35%; it had risen from 58.3% in 1991 to 78% in 2011.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation – a mid-day meal NGO in India started its operations in Vadodara in the year 2009. Since then the Foundation has fed 4,14,496 children daily studying in 2,169 Government and Government-aided schools across Gujarat. It operates from its six centralised kitchens in Gujarat out of which five are ISO 22000:2005 certified.
These centralised kitchens have the capacity to cook up to 1 lakh meals a day. They adhere to strict hygiene and safety norms detailed by the Food and Safety Management Systems (FSMS) to ensure safe handling, preparation and delivery of food. To increase the efficiency of the operational process, Six Sigma methodologies, Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects have been adopted.
Cyclical and locally palatable menu of Akshaya Patra’s Gujarat kitchens
The menu served in the Gujarat kitchens are altered and changed in a cyclical manner to develop a variety in the menu and to ensure that the prescribed nutrition for children is met. Meals are prepared as per the local palate to make sure that children readily consume the mid-day meals and benefit from its nutrients.
Food items like kabuli chana pulav, dal dhokali, sukhadi, thepla, lauki chana dal, mixed vegetable with desi chana, thepla with sesame seeds, thepla with mixed vegetables, etc. are served to suit the local taste buds.
Akshaya Patra’s contribution during the COVID-19 crisis
Akshaya Patra began its COVID-19 Food Relief Service in Gujarat on 26th March 2020. It began the service in Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar and as the crisis affected more and more lives, it slowly expanded its feeding operations to Vadodara, Bhuj and Surat. As on 31st August, 77,67,769 cooked meals were served and 17,854 marginalised families were supported with grocery kits.
As a part of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the Foundation has initiated the Happiness Bag Programme to support the health and education of children in Bengaluru. To benefit the mid-day meal beneficiaries of Gujarat, this programme will be carried out in a phase-wise manner.
Beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Food Relief Service
Kokilaben Chhaganbhai Valmiki, 30 years old, works as a civil daily wage labourer and earns a meagre?250 a day. As a working woman, she strives hard, day in day out, to keep her family of five fed. She and her family found it hard to afford even one square meal a day during the lockdown. Being a mother of three, she was worried of her children dying from hunger than from the "Corona" she kept hearing of.
Amidst all the chaos, she heard of The Akshaya Patra Foundation – an NGO in India that was distributing grocery kits and serving freshly-prepared, hot meals. It gave tremendous relief to her on having received meals for herself and for her whole family as well. She is grateful for this respite.
Arshad Khan is a migrant labourer from Delhi who works in Ahmedabad in the catering business. He was left without a job after the lockdown and soon figured that he wouldn’t be able to feed his family. His funds were quickly depleting due to which he had to vacate his house since he was not able to pay the rent.
His decision to move to the Homeless Shelter of Ranbasera in Ahmedabad has taken care not only of his safety but also of his meals. The Akshaya Patra Foundation provided meals twice a day to ensure that the inmates receive healthy nourishing food without having to spend any money.
Millions of people in India have been affected by the pandemic. Freshly prepared, healthy meals increase their immunity and gives them a better chance at fighting the risk of contracting COVID-19. Akshaya Patra’s food relief service has given a new ray of hope to people in need.
Feed the needy during the hour of crisis. Support Akshaya Patra’s Food Relief Service in Gujarat and across India.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian Ngo implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme. Your support to Akshaya Patra can potentially improve lives of millions of children across India and also avail you tax exemption.