Akshaya Patra virtual gala raises $1M for COVID, hunger relief in India

Indica News Bureau-

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an international nonprofit organization focused on combatting hunger and ensuring access to education, held its Boston Virtual Gala on Sunday, May 3, raising $1 million to provide COVID-19 relief to migrant workers and children in India, the organization said in a press release.

Prof. Ashish Jha
Prof. Kash Rangan

Prof. Ashish Jha of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the event’s keynote speaker, spoke about the short- and long-term implications of COVID-19 and how the world can mitigate some of those devastating effects, the release said. Jha pointed to the underestimation of people infected and deaths globally, adding that the pandemic will continue until a vaccine is developed or herd immunity is established.

Jha also told the audience that the power everyone has in creating a future will help children and families in India and urged attendees to support Akshaya Patra as it continues to meet two essential needs of food and education for children, according to the organization.

Prof. Kash Rangan, who teaches social enterprise and business at the Harvard Business School and is a long-time supporter of Akshaya Patra, spoke about the COVID-19 and other pandemics having ripple effects and causing devastation to basic needs, the press release said. Rangan emphasized the need for humanity to collaborate in uncertain times and empower Akshaya Patra to scale up to serving five million meals every day.

The Bollywood-themed gala also showcased Indian actor Paresh Rawal, an Akshaya Patra supporter, and his wife Swaroop Sampat. Rawal read a poem by Indian Hindi and Urdu poet Nida Fazli that portrayed the simple joys of a child going to school each morning, the organization said in the release.

Established in 2000, Akshaya Patra is the largest NGO-run school meal program in the world, according to Time Magazine, and serves 1.8 million children daily in over 19,257 schools through 55 kitchens in 12 states and two Union Territories in India. It costs only $20 to feed a child for an entire school year., the organizations said in its release.

The organization says it has served 40 million meals to migrant workers since India’s lockdown began and feeds 1.8 million Indian children every day during the school year. Over 1,000 businesses, non-profits, government officials, and philanthropic leaders from around the world attended and supported the organization’s dual mission of addressing childhood hunger and promoting education for underserved children in India.

More information is available at https://foodforeducation.org.


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