All posts by Feeding India

World Health Day 2016 @ Feeding India

By Shikhar Tomer

“Awareness is like the sun when it shines on things they are transformed.” Thick That Hanh


Awareness is golden. Being in the know of your consciousness, your surrounding, 
Your mere habits. It works a great deal for your benefit.

This year on World Health Day, Feeding India an opportunity to drop a few precious crumbs of awareness in a Shelter Home for Women near Kalkaji Temple.
As the team entered the shelter home, they were greeted by many smiling faces, everyone there was eager to start the activity. Slowly the room filled up and there was an enthusiastic audience.  Some of the team members got into a ice breaking session by jamming on all types of music with the children. In the meantime two chair and stools was set up to start a brief health check up.
The women started queuing  up and Dr. Loshini and Dr. Pallavi (Hunger Heroes) started a general checkup. The check up involved seeing the general well being of women and children, listening to any problem they had, referring them to a nearby health centre and the most important of all, educating them about how they can benefit from the initiatives and schemes launched by the Government, that too at no cost.  At the shelter home the volunteers encountered many women and children who were not seeking any medical help or weren’t aware of problems that they had. Both the doctors said that most of them just required a good session of counselling to reach out to the medical facilities which was available near them.

Drishti Mehta, a Hunger Hero said, “We were all shocked to see a pregnant woman, smoking a bidi (tobacco). It was so sad to see her ignorance towards her own actions and the possible effects it would have on her to be born baby.”

The volunteers saw that majority of the women were chronic smokers of bidi. On an average a woman was smoking 10-20 packets per year, which increases the risks of respiratory disorders  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, oral cancer and lung cancer.  One of the women was pregnant  and was unwilling to give up smoking and many other woman has similar stories in the past, this puts unborn infants at the risk of hypoxia which can eventually lead to death.

And the children were following the footsteps of their mothers, Soumay Sabharwal and Manan Jain (volunteers at the event) quoted, “Another surprise came to us in our interaction with a 10 year old boy who told us how he got addicted to drugs at a tender age, and was trying to find an escape.

After the check up, a Help talk was given which covered proper technique of hand washing and brushing teeth. This seems to be a very minor thing, but one would be surprised to know how many of them were not aware of something as basic as this and the importance of these everyday habits.
Some pictures from the event:

 

 

#Feeding India Diaries: Big Fat Indian Weddings

We all just love weddings, don’t we?

And we all have our own reasons to love weddings, mine is food. I just love food. For the man who is extremely and dangerously hungry, no other interest exists but food. He dreams food, he remembers food, and he thinks about food, he emotes only about food, he perceives only food, and he wants only food.

Weddings are one thing Indian Parents love to spend money on. They spend all their hard earned money which they have saved throughout their lifetime especially on weddings of their little ones. You surely must have heard this popular line, “We have worked hard all our life to celebrate our daughter’s wedding in the most lavish way we can.”  The majority of this money is spent on food. Even if the parents have themselves been eating only Dal-Roti for the last 20-25 years, on the day of their daughter’s wedding you won’t be surprised to see International cuisines, and the best of Indian Dishes from every part of (My mouth has already started watering with the thought of those tasty dishes 😀 ).

Whenever I know there is going to be a wedding in the near future I prepare myself to fast the previous day. I know the wedding day is the biggest day for the bride and groom to be, but it is an even bigger day for me (or my tummy I should say). I just love to feast on anything and everything there is going to be on the menu(after all who doesn’t love free food?). For ages we have all followed the Golden phrase, “ Khao piyo khisko.”

We start with Aloo chaat, then Chaat papdi, dahi bhalle, Raj kachori. After we are done with trying all the chaat there is, we move on to the main course. No matter how many cuisines are there, every Indian’s favourite wedding food is Shahi paneer , Dal Makhani, and Butter Chicken, accompanied with Lachcha parantha and Meethi Lassi (What more do you need in life).

Leaving some space for desserts to fit into my stomach, our next destination is Gulab Jamun, Moong Daal Halwa, Jalebi topped with Rabri or of course, Ice-Cream (Any flavour works). And then finally paan!

But! Despite the efforts of foodies like me, A LOT OF FOOD GETS WASTED IN WEDDINGS (probably enough to feed hundreds of more people). All this delicious, perfectly edible, healthy and nutritious food is thrown into the dustbin. Yes, this is the sad truth. Food which has been bought with the lifetime savings of the parents/guardians going wasted. Doesn’t that hurt? Of course it does.

I had joined Feeding India, a not for profit that collects excess food from weddings and redistributes it to the needy. Now, the philosophy which I used to follow before joining Feeding India was, “khao,piyo,khisko”. After joining it has become, “ Khao, piyo, jo bacha hai KHILAO aur phir khisko.” Now, you must be thinking that the idea looks good but where will we go an donate so much food at 3 AM? What is where we come in as Hunger Heroes. We are just a call away, all you have to do is call us on our helpline number and there would be a volunteer who would come and pick up the leftover food. Yes you can call us ANYTIME be it 5 in the morning or 12 at night). We alleviate hunger and reduce food wastage simultaneously, that is our vision. We do not believe in cooking up extra new food to feed the poor, we simply act as a link to ensure the already cooked food reaches the place from where it is not needed to where it is REALLY NEEDED.

You can be a hunger hero yourself and join our organisation to volunteer. The happiness you will get and the blessings you will receive from the people whom you donate the food to, is priceless!! On one occasion, I actually remember seeing tears of joy in the eyes of an elderly beggar when I gave him a loaf of bread.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

 

A Letter to Santa

Address: The footpath,
Opposite New Delhi metro station,
Delhi, India.
Date:
14th December, 2016
Dear Santa,
How have you been? I have been waiting for you or your letters since long, but none came. Like every year, I waited for you last year too, but you did not come. I thought maybe, I had not been a good child. But this year, I made sure that I did all the good things so that you finally come to and give me my Christmas present on time.
I always wanted to become like my Father, my superhero. So after he left us and went to God, I decided to be the Man of the house. Just like him, I made sure that my younger sisters don’t go to sleep hungry, and Ma takes her medicines on time. Tell me Santa, did I miss something, was I not a good boy?
Everyday I pass by the school I went to, holding papa’s hands, now holding Ma’s hands to help her at work. I know Ma cannot send me to schools again and she can’t earn for all us alone. We sell toys on the traffic signals and pavements. On seeing the happy faces of the children who bought those toys, I often wonder how it feels like to play with those colourful toys.
Last night, I sold 10 Christmas caps, and earned a little extra money from which I bought chocolates for my sisters. Their eyes sparkled with joy to see the chocolates, they immediately took them from my hands and galloped them. I was happy to see their faces that I almost forgot that I had none left with me, but I could taste it through their smiles. Tell me Santa, was I not a good boy?
Often, we don’t have proper meals for dinner and live on the leftover food that people in the big cars give to us. At night, we have to share the only blanket we have. It becomes very cold sometimes, you must be knowing, there’s so much snow around you. Sometimes, when I see my sister shivering, I creep out of the blanket, and cover her more. I always make sure that my family is comfortable even in the little resources we have. After all I am the Man of the House- I am Strong!

 

But still you don’t visit me Santa! Have I really not been a good boy? Santa, this Christmas, all I ask for is a full stomach. Will you listen to my wish? I hope I was a good boy this year.

Hoping for your visit.
With love
The boy who sells Santa caps

Ankit Kawatra selected as Queen’s Young Leader !

try spotting Ankit in the picture above!

Feeding India founder a.k.a – Indian Hunger activist Ankit Kawatra wins Queen’s Young Leader Award!!
And the wishes keep showering in:

“This man is not going to stop till he actually ends hunger.”
Srishti Jain, Core Team Member Feeding India.

“You make us so so Proud Ankit Kawatra! Many many congratulations on being selected as #QueensYoungLeader for 2017. It is your undeterred passion towards the cause that makes us work even harder. Great going. Loads to come.”
Sanat Kumar Sahu,  External Relations Manager Delhi

Heartiest Congratulations Ankit on being the Queen’s Young Leader 2017. 😍 Just the beginning! You make us so proud!
Pulkit Malhotra, Talent Management Manager Delhi


Ankit Kawatra from India has won the Queen’s Young Leaders award in UK for his exceptional work in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in the communities.

Ankit Kawatra, the founder of Feeding India, a not for profit organization that aims to solve hunger, malnutrition and food waste in the country, is among 60 other individuals from the entire world to have won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2017. Ankit will be presented the award by Her Majesty The Queen herself at a gala ceremony in Buckingham Palace in June next year, over the course of a one-week residential programme in the UK.

The award will also offer the winners a one year bespoke mentoring and online learning provided by the University of Cambridge to build leadership capabilities and better their work towards the communities. Last year, apart from the Queen herself, David Beckham, Prince Harry, Sir Lenny Henry and former Prime Minister Sir John Major were among the personalities to pay tribute to inspiring young leaders from across the Commonwealth at an event at Buckingham Palace.

The selection process comprised of 3,000 applications from around the world selected by the Queen’s Young Leaders Advisory Panel of young people and their Programme Board.

Ankit said “This is not just an award for me, but the entire Feeding India fraternity and in fact for everyone who works to fight hunger. I am honoured to be a Queen’s Young Leader, and forever grateful to the Feeding India volunteers, team and supporters (especially Mr. Mayur Sharma from Highway on my Plate) who have been with me through thick and thin. Thank you so much! I will leave no stone unturned to gain from this experience and apply it to fighting hunger with Feeding India”.

Recent news
Recently, Ankit has also been selected as one of the 17 United Nations Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals in September during the 71st United Nations General Assembly. Earlier this week he was also honoured with the Karamveer Chakra and REX Global fellowship at an exclusive awards function for his leadership and selfless work towards a better society.

For those who do not know about Ankit and his work
Ankit represents the youth of India and is able to raise development concerns of the country at a global level. His organization, Feeding India provides nutritious meals to people who cannot access or earn food for themselves, namely- children, elderly and specially-abled. Feeding India has a network of 2500+ volunteers in 32 cities who have served 2 million meals. Ankit aims to feed 100 million meals in India by 2020, with a network of 10,000 Hunger Heroes in 100 cities of India with more sustained feeding programs.

More about the award
Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust present the award to recognise young people from across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth who are “taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities”.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in recognition of the Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

 

Painstakingly Negligent

Twinkling eyes,
Barren lips,
Burning throat and scorching heat.
One droplet to overflowing teardrops.
A collection of nodding heads huddle,
What will suffice this thirst for hunger?
This appetite, no feast can gratify.

I am hunger.
I am silence, and I am screams.
I am armies, and I am kings.
None sees me, the dread is felt.
Of swollen bellies and deflated limbs.
I am the natural, and the unnatural.
I am the giver, and the taker.
It is I who resurrect in the form of bread,
Indifferent to your door, more than often.

For generations,
Men have fought my battles and died,
Only to make me immortal.
I am pain, and it is I who heal.
I am god, and it is I who transgress.

Another act of transgression. Another collection of heads huddled together, some hung lowly and others bearing gleaming eyes. Hollow stomachs echoing loud deafening rumbling noises that shut out the mind, but the heart growls. The heart is in anguish, but the mind tries to rationalise. Body, mind, soul- all have been defied. Buried in blurred realities, the sight is clouded. The eyes no longer see the eagerness and the enthusiasm of its audience, all it can see now is the impoverishment. The illusory masks of survival, and the human instincts to maintain the basic foundation of existence evaporate, and what’s left behind is the vision of a pitiful naked new-born baby. The purest form of flesh making its way into a horrid world. Abstained from sin, it must bear the horrors of a cosmos ridden with sin. We see now, in the cries of the child, the pain of repaying others’ debt. The innocence is lost in a tide of overwhelming tremors. Given no agency to thoughts and choices, the child knows that it must fight a battle it neither started nor opted to be a part of. As every passing day becomes heightened with a drug, the high of which one cannot escape, life begins for the new-born with the foresight of a sullen future which will perpetuate itself. Suppressed voices of inertia question if the universe should consider this child a new-born or just another (“any “other?) born to die. They question if this vision is an illusion or the one we conveniently call reality.

– By Tansheet Hassan

img_20161107_215023

#Feeding India Diaries: The Meal That Brought Tears In My Eyes – Pulkit Malhotra

By Pulkit Malhotra

My journey with Feeding India has been an amazing one. I joined the organization way back in August 2015 and from then I have transformed myself into a better human being. Whether it’s the “SuperHero of the Session” or a “Special Mention for the Highest Number of Meals in a Month”, I have achieved all of them. But what touched me deep in my heart was a special meal.

In the month of January 2016, I went to the infamous Swami Shraddhanand Marg, popularly known as G.B. Road for a donation. I was accompanied by another Super Hero and we went to the office of Kat-Katha, an NGO working for the upliftment of the ‘didis’ who are caught up in the brothels. One volunteer from Kat-Katha went with us for the donation. The donation went well without any hindrances or trouble. (Although the auto driver dropped us a Kilometer away from our destination since he wasn’t ready to go to this area).

During the donation, I saw a lot of happy faces and the reason behind that happiness was the food that we gave them. After the donation we went back to the office to interact with some of the children and didis. What we found from the Kat Katha volunteers was that there are times when the kids and the didis do not get even a single meal in a day. Their normal meal is just a cup of tea with a bread slice. Knowing this made me realize, what a plate full of rice and dal meant for them. There are people who are deprived of the bread slice too. The food that we waste everyday can really bring happiness to a lot of people.

I feel so honored and proud that Feeding India gave me an opportunity to bring a smile and happiness to the lives of hundreds of people.

12705234_1375638905795260_7236296743482119226_n

Down the Memory Lane: spending time with children

“Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?”  ―  Sarah Adison Allen, Lost lake

Away from the teeming hustle and bustle of our busy lives, sometimes we slip down the memory lane, to the happy, nonchalant childhood days. Days that were crazy, colourful, chirpy and fun!  Those paper boat races , that dancing carefree in the rain, that feeling when your paper plane lasted  longest in the air, the two rupee ice-creams, the 25 paisa candies, the bayblade competitions, hide n seek, ice water, chain-chain, ready to ready, London bridge, freeze, simon says, the nostalgia is endless.

Unfortunately, not every child around us is privileged enough to built such memories. This ‘Joy of giving week’ (Daan Utsav) Feeding India decided to reach out to some such children, to share the memories of their own childhood and to create some for these children. Nikhil Devgan, a core team member of Feeding India, says that sharing Natkhat with the kids, which he used to love as a kid, was a very special memory that he would be taking back from the event. In his words the experience of meeting amazing kids at different places was simply “awesome”. Back2bachpan surely took us all back to our childhood days.

3
Nisha Jain says, “Being with those kids would be so amazing, never thought of that. The kids were so active that one could not take their eyes off from their cute activities. I went to a flashback to my childhood, how I used to tease my elders and force them to to play with me. The kids were full of manners and treated us very nicely. In #back2bachpan I created memories that will stay forever and I would love to be a part of all such events in the future.”

Rachita Jain says, “One special memory that I carried from that day was playing dodge ball. I actually used to play this game with my friends when I was in school. It was an amazing experience to live the moments back in life. Children there were really happy and so was I. Millions of smile come only when one starts smiling..and that is what I learnt from there. Children there were full of enjoyment and that makes me a better person that just because of doing little for them they are on the seventh cloud.”

5
With a face brimming with excitement, Anoushka Saha shared, “I felt such an immense joy inside when I saw the kids happy. We gifted some happy memories boxes Particularly, when I gave a necklace and a pretty clip to a girl, her joy knew no bounds and she hugged me. This made me feel so special. It was worth all my time and effort. I am so glad to a be a core member of #FIBhubaneswarand #feedingindia in general .I cannot explain in words how it makes me feel inside .There is something so great in working for a cause and working for someone without our own benefit . I am so proud of me n my team so that we could pull this project off so easily and in such less time .I am looking forward to working with Feeding India in future .thank you for such an opportunity.”

2
Japneet shared his experience, “There is no better work than to help others and make them smile in any way possible. I went with not so much thoughts in my mind and I just thought that I would have a great time as I would spend some time with some amazing children but it turned out to be such a special day for me. When we started with the drawing and crafting competition I was shocked as the children came out with such amazing ideas and it was hard for everyone present there to decide which one could have been the best of all. The best time I had was when I was trying to help the young children draw and it was hard for me as well as for them to communicate but we somehow managed and the best site to see was their smiling faces when they were being given the memory box. I think the best feeling in life is to see others smiling because of you I experienced that yesterday. The smiling and excited faces of children when they were given the memory box took me back to Bachpan as that was the exact way I reacted when I got gifts.”

A very Inspired Vikas said, “Mariam and one more girl (I am bad at remembering names) with her told me they will become Doctor and Police respectively. It’s my desire to keep visiting them regularly to ensure these two girls maintain the right path they see for themselves. Whatever time I spent with these two were my favourite moments. And before leaving, a kid came up with a heart shaped balloon as a parting gift for me. I felt like finally I am doing something after a long time. First step for me so the feeling was obviously overwhelming.”

Abhineet Kumar shared, “One memory that took me back to bachpan was of a small Muslim kid who brought out his favourite sculpture of Lord Hanuman to show me. I remembered the days of my bachpan when I used to play with kids of all religions, caste or color without thinking about any of those. It reminded me that everyone is born as human and divided into social evils as we grow up. So the biggest religion in the world is that of HUMANITY. I felt humbled and honored to be part of something that great. I realized that it does not take a big contribution to make a difference in the world. All it takes a one act of random kindness to change the world.”

This might have been a day’s event but the memories and nostalgia it gave us would be treasured for life. It might have been just a day’s adventure for the kids too, but it is memories of this day that they would cherish for long. Most importantly it has taught us all that in the act of giving, we gain more than we give away. It has inspired us all to continue spreading the joy of giving, to share all that we have, for joy, peace and contentment.

1