August 2004 saw The Akshaya Patra Foundation's advent as a mid-day meal NGO in Vrindavan. With this Vrindavan became the first location where Akshaya Patra served mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh. Currently, this NGO in Vrindavan provides mid-day meal to 139,262 children in 1874 Government schools. Akshaya Patra caters to this enormous need every day through its centralised kitchen facility. This centralised kitchen is an ISO 22000:2005 certified facility. Witnessing the potential of the mid-day meal programme, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh has pledged support to the NGO in Vrindavan to extend its service to other locations of the state namely Lucknow, Kannauj, Varanasi, Kanpur and Agra. The construction of kitchen at Lucknow has already begun. In a noteworthy way, The Caterpillar Foundation is funding the construction of this centralised infrastructure.
While implementing the mid-day meal service in Uttar Pradesh, Akshaya Patra also takes into consideration various process optimisation and developmental steps to increase efficiency of its infrastructure. Every year the kitchens of Akshaya Patra across India explore and implement newer techniques to up the efficiency level and quality of meals. Few of the steps employed by the Vrindavan kitchen during 2013-14 are as follows:
- Process optimisation measures in Vrindavan kitchen resulted in reduction of cooking time by 2 ½ hours and distribution time by around one hour
- Vrindavan kitchen got the entire menu lab tested for nutrition and calorie analysis by a third party, which affirmed that we are meeting the prescribed Governmental norms.
- Vrindavan kitchen conducted a programme called Jansampark Yojana, to connect with all the beneficiaries in Mathura District and understand their preferences with regard to the menu items served, and to gather any other additional feedback. Based on the feedback, we introduced dhalia and suji halwa as a replacement for kheer which was not preferred by a majority of the beneficiaries
As an appreciation this NGO in Vrindavan was felicitated by Mankameshwari Inter College, Mathura, for its continued effort in providing good service and quality food to the Government school children. The mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh has certainly touched upon the lives of many underserved children. Stories of Hope will bring across the many heart warming anecdotes of children who would otherwise have had to live a life without education and nutritious meal.
But the tale of Akshaya Patra does not end here. It aims to feed 5 million children by 2020. It plans to expand its operations to newer locations while sustaining service in the existing locations. It seeks the support from all sections of the society in reaching this mission. One can choose to contribute to this cause by time, money or skill. Online donation to child NGO would be indeed the fastest mode of contributing towards the cause. However, apart from online donation to child NGO, there are many other volunteering opportunities provided by this charity.
Feed a child for an entire year by contributing just Rs. 750 through online donation to child NGO.