World Food Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 16. Nearly 3 out of 10 people globally experience food insecurity (i.e., not having enough food or adequate food to meet your needs), according to the World Bank Group. The day was commissioned by the United Nations to bring awareness to this issue. In this DIVE In blog, we share an effort by our Blue Yonder team in India to make a difference when it comes to food insecurity.

Our Blue Yonder team in India was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in a corporate social responsibility endeavor by visiting The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an extraordinary non-governmental organization that runs a highly commendable school feeding program on a massive scale. Every school day, they serve nutritious meals to over 2 million children from 22,367 schools across 15 states and 2 Union Territories in India. With 67 kitchens spread across the nation, their commitment to eradicating hunger among school children is truly commendable.

The Blue Yonder team at The Akshaya Patra Foundation

Our Team’s Visit:

Our team had planned to tour their kitchen and then serve lunch at one of the schools using the meals prepared in the Akshaya Patra kitchen. As we were ready to depart for the kitchen, we were informed at the last minute, however, that a state holiday had been declared because of an upcoming festival, and no meals would be served. Nonetheless, we were still eager to visit the kitchen to help prep future meals. When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by Kusum, a dedicated volunteer who would be our guide for the day. She began by providing us with an introduction to the organization and its noble mission, before leading us on an enlightening tour of the kitchen facilities.

The bus ride to the kitchen

Witnessing the Effort:

During our visit, we were privileged to witness the immense effort that goes into preparing thousands of meals every day. From sourcing fresh ingredients to ensuring the meals are nutritious and balanced, every process step is carried out with utmost care and consideration. We learned about the various steps in the process and how quality is maintained throughout. It was heartening to see how much thought is put into running the kitchen efficiently. We were all impressed by the volunteers and staff members’ unwavering dedication. The whole experience left us in awe!

Touring the very large kitchen

Our Contribution:

As part of our visit, we had the opportunity to work alongside the kitchen staff in preparing vegetables for the meals that were planned to be prepared early the next morning. We were excited to roll up our sleeves and join in as we prepped cabbage, Malabar cucumber, curry leaves, and coriander leaves. To make things more efficient, we divided ourselves into smaller teams. We took on different tasks such as destemming the curry leaves, chopping the coriander leaves, cleaning and cutting the Malabar cucumber, and chopping the cabbage. Once the vegetable preparation was complete, we took them to the cold room for storage. The entire process was very fulfilling, and we were proud to know that our efforts would contribute to providing healthy meals for underprivileged children.

The Blue Yonder team prepping the vegetable

The Significance:

Our visit to Akshaya Patra’s kitchen provided us with a profound understanding of the crucial role that organizations like theirs play in society. It is important for kids to have access to healthy, nourishing food because it helps them stay strong and focused in school. The unwavering dedication and passion displayed by the staff and volunteers only reinforced our belief in the importance of such foundations. Once we completed all the tasks, we had the opportunity to taste the food prepared in the kitchen daily for the children. Leaving the kitchen, we were filled with inspiration and gratitude. The fantastic job being done at Akshaya Patra left an indelible mark on us. Their dedication to improving the lives of countless children was evident in their relentless work. Contributing even a small amount to this noble cause was truly an honor.

Prepped vegetables stored in a large cooler for the next day’s meals

Inspiration and Gratitude:

Our visit to Akshaya Patra Foundation’s kitchen was eye-opening and inspiring. We saw first-hand the incredible effort and dedication involved in providing nutritious meals to millions of school children. This experience reinforced the importance of organizations like Akshaya Patra and strengthened our belief in the power of collective action for positive change. We left with a renewed commitment to support initiatives that combat hunger and create a brighter future for all children. We hope you will join such efforts in the communities where you live!