Akshaya Patra will utilize grant funds provided by the Deshpande Foundation, Chamaria, and other donors to continue, strengthen and expand its school feeding program in India. Implementation of a strategic plan for scale-up of the program model will improve operational efficiency and sustainability through improved logistical capacity. Specifically, financial commitments will be used to expand the capacity of two Akshaya Patra kitchens (in Orissa and Vrindavan) and to increase the number of children served. This commitment will begin in 2009.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is currently feeding one million underprivileged children in India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, with the support of leading global donors, including the Deshpande Foundation and Ravindra Chamaria, commit to scaling up the successful school lunch programs in India. The new commitment involves measurable improvements in the capacity of kitchens and providing freshly prepared nutritious meals daily to additional 100,000 children in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
Their commitment includes building a new kitchen in Orissa that will serve 50,000 children. Expansion of the kitchen in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh will serve additional 50,000 children.
Over the course of this commitment, Akshaya Patra will have provided 33,000,000 meals to school children in the new kitchens, including 22,000,000 in Orissa and 11,000,000 in Vrindavan, providing critical nutrition to a whole generation of school children in those areas.
The kitchens are central to the success of this program, especially designed by engineers to leverage technology. The fully automated kitchens allow Akshaya Patra to prepare and distribute meals on a large scale efficiently, cost effectively and in a timely manner. In the fully automated kitchens, they can prepare meals for 185,000 children in less than five hours.
Appropriate technological considerations have governed all phases of the design and process: the choice of the cooking medium (steam), generation of steam, construction of large cauldrons, mechanized high speed cutting of vegetables, handling of cooked food, etc., to minimize human intervention and maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene along with custom designed vehicles, logistics to move and safely deliver cooked food on time.
The program represents a model partnership supported by governments, businesses, foundations, private donors, schools, families and communities. This support helps to keep cost low and quality high. Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at fraction of a cost of other similar programs in the world. It costs to feed a child for the entire school year. Food stocks are sourced from local farmers, insulating the program from external price shocks and Akshaya Patra employs local people.
East Side Entrees seeks to provide freshly prepared healthy meals that accommodate regional dietary preferences to disadvantaged children in schools. These wholesome meals provide the nutrition that the children need to develop their cognitive ability and help them concentrate on learning. These meals are an incentive for families to send their children to school. For many, this is their only complete meal for the day.