By Team Kalamwali in Stories » True Story
Updated 14:23 IST May 29, 2020

Views » 1357 | 3 min read


“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
John Holmes.

A not-for-profit, non-religious, non-sectarian public charitable trust, Annamrita Foundation, formed in April 2004 after the Government of India introduced the “Mid-day Meal Scheme” in order to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide has been one of the strongest pillars of support during the COVID-19 pandemic. ISKCON’s Annamrita Foundation is a ray of hope for the underprivileged children from Below Poverty Line families, who attend Municipal Schools in about 40 cities of Maharashtra. It delivers full nourished meals to government schools where children are unable to get food from home.

Immediately, after the lockdown was announced, Annamrita Foundation and Team held a meeting with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and other concerned authorities to make provisions for food to the underprivileged. Since the Lockdown began, Annamrita Foundation with the help of Janakidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha, has been providing food to over 90 locations and to 90,000 people in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad area. They began with 350 meals on 24th March 2020, and today serve 35 lakh people at 40 different locations in Maharashtra. Due to limited spaces, they expanded their kitchens to different areas in Pune including - Katraj Kondhwa Road, Pune’s ISKCON temple and Swargate and had 80 chefs cooking from morning 4.00 am to deliver food to people in time. Annamrita Foundation has also set the bars high by distributing food in the Red Light area of Pune (Budhwar Peth) where the ladies are out of business and shown us that generosity has no limits.

In addition, the foundation has distributed fodder to stray cows as well as food grain packets to 200 Gurujis who are stranded in closed temples. Furthermore, in association with Mr. Neeraj Bajaj, they have distributed over 2 Lakh homeopathic medicines to different slums in Pune and aim at distributing groceries to 50 photographers who have been working incessantly with newspaper agencies in Pune. On 23rd April, World Books Day, Annamrita distributed 1,000 Bhagavad Gitas free of cost through ISKCON temple in order to raise mental health awareness in the country especially due to increasing risk of mental illness during the Lockdown.

Recently, on 26th May Annamrita team received a call from officials who requested them to provide food to almost 5,000 labourers who were going to travel the same evening to their hometowns by train from Pune station. Within 4 hours and with 40 volunteers the foundation delivered 5,000 meal packets (khichadi and pulav) to the travellers. This journey has been effective with the help of Bajaj Group, Shri Mukund Bhavan Trust, Mukul Madhav Foundation, Finolex, Syska LED, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, Rotary Club of Pune Central, Trident International Pvt Ltd., Indian Spice Box, and General Industrial Controls Pvt Ltd (GIC).

The magnitude of their work is beyond what can be expressed in words. Team Kalamwali salutes Mr. Sanjay Bhosale and his entire Annamrita Foundation team for their boundless help and limitless donations and for not just feeding, but feeding healthy and nutritious meals to the needy through this Lockdown.

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