In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 821 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.
Inspired by a SEE talks video of Sarabjeet Singh of Shimla, I thought of started something similar on a very small scale in our residential society.
I sent out the video to our whats app group and asked for volunteers. Around 6-7 people came forward to volunteer but I was clueless on what to do next. I started talking to a few NGOs and fortunately within a day or two was able to connect with founder of NGO named Samriddhi – Mom Banerjee. Samriddhi is a network of no-fee bridge schools to give basic education to out-of-school children of migrant labourers in a multilevel and multilingual atmosphere. They were at that time struggling with the funding for breakfast for their kids.
I shared the plan with her and she was all in. As if destiny had planned our meeting, because she had been looking for someone to sponsor breakfast for kids and we were looking for a place where we could start our food sharing effort. And the irony is that we stay in same residential complex, same building and same floor right next to each other and hadn’t talked to each other earlier.
We had initially planned to support 2-3 kids each, however Mom came with a larger requirement. People were skeptical as with full time jobs, kids and other daily chores, it looked difficult. Mom and I then came up with an easy to cook and healthy menu.
Monday: Boiled Black Chana
Tuesday: Whole wheat Bread Butter and Jam
Wednesday: Moong Dal Sprouts
Thursday: Oats Porridge
Friday: Milk and Bananas
Saturday: Boiled eggs and Whole wheat biscuits
The menu is easy and doesn’t require extra effort with increase in number of kids. We circulated the menu amongst volunteers and it was accepted by one and all. Post the menu was circulated, another 5 members joined the group and each one as of today is sending food for 6-8 kids without any issues. As of today, 13 volunteers together are sending breakfast for 90 kids. People drop the tiffin boxes at the society main gate by 8 am and NGO van comes to collect the food at around 8:30 am. Washed Tiffin boxes are dropped back by NGO at 4 pm at the society gate.
The initiative is named “Akme Ahaar” – Akme being name of our residential society and Ahaar meaning food.
The volunteers today own this project and are ready to help each other all the time. We have some amazing people as volunteers who do not hesitate to go above and beyond their set responsibility.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do something for someone. We often procrastinate our efforts looking at the massive scale of problems as we think that our efforts alone will not eradicate the problem. What we forget is that we may not be able to change everything for everyone, but we can surely change something for someone. This reminds me of a story which motivates me each time I get disappointed with the scale of problems, and minimal impact I am able to create.
We all can make a difference in at least one person’s life. If we all are able to do that, I am sure that sustainable development goals defined by UN can be achieved and we will be able to create a better world for generations to come.
Special Note of Gratitude to the Volunteers of Akme Encore Bangalore
Neha, Atreyee, Seeta, Mom, Deepika, Deepa, Manasi, Aaskiran, Mani, Reema, Shruti and Swati
Sarabjeet Singh started an NGO called Almighty Blessings and established free canteens for patients and their attendants under its banner. These canteens serve tea, biscuits, soups, porridge, and dal-rice to patients free of cost. Singh also runs 22 Roti banks across the state to collect chapatti and distribute them to poor patients.
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