ISKCON Food Relief Foundation now has a presence in Kolkata, West Bengal. The West Bengal Government handed over a 14,000 sq. ft. land in Kolkata to ‘Annamrita’, IFRF’s mid-day meal program in a grand ceremony on 27th April 2012. This land, along with a built up kitchen of 9000 sq. ft, is part of an agreement between the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Annamrita which details that Annamrita will provide midday meals to all the municipal schools within Kolkata.
Annamrita is well known for its efficient large scale food preparation and distribution to underprivileged students in select schools across India. The West Bengal Government has requested them to bring their expertise and experience in this field to Kolkata. The government has very generously agreed to supply the electricity, petrol, gas, water and utensil bills of Annamrita and is subsidising Rs 3 per child studying in the primary section of its municipal schools.
The inauguration of the community kitchen was attended by many well-known personalities of West Bengal such as Sri Sovan Chatterjee, Hon`ble Mayor, Kolkata, Chief Guest, Sri Bratya Basu, Hon`ble MIC for Higher Education and School Education West Bengal, Dr (Smt) Shashi Panja, Hon`ble MMIC for Education Kolkata and Ms. Mohtorma Farzana Alam, Deputy Mayor, Kolkata. All of them appreciated and encouraged the work being done by Annamrita. The event also received extensive media coverage in West Bengal. This initiative between the West Bengal Government and Annamrita is being seen as a very positive step towards improving literacy and eradicating poverty from the state.
Annamrita began its work from 2nd May itself and is now distributing daily meals to 3500 students across 35 schools in Kolkata. Healthy and delicious meals like Rice with Rajma, Soyabean, Dalia, Aloo Dum, Khichdi etc. have been served till date. The feedback from all the schools regarding the meals has been very positive.
The teachers are already reporting a marked rise in attendance.
Initially the programme covered students up to class 8 only. But noting the significant increase in attendance, the Kolkata Government extended the programme to include students of class 9 and 10 also. The Government of West Bengal is very happy with Annamrita’s work and hopes to extend this scheme across the state of West Bengal.