24/7 Food Seva
In response to the pressing need to reach those grappling with the challenge of managing even a single daily meal, the 24/7 Food Seva project was initiated. This crucial and compassionate endeavour aims to touch the lives of individuals residing in the most impoverished areas in and around Bangalore, where tough living conditions and diminished self-confidence defined their daily struggles.
In these communities, where food scarcity is a harsh reality, children and elders often resort to consuming whatever affordable options are available, such as packets of chips and fast food. The paramount challenge of putting food on the plate makes it difficult for families to explore avenues for survival. While the suggestion to find employment may seem straightforward, the reality is far more complex. Multiple obstacles, including a lack of job opportunities, communication barriers, low self-confidence, and an enduring sense of inferiority, hinder the ability of these individuals to secure stable employment. Consequently, families are compelled to send their children to work for daily wages in hotels, garages, and other places, leading to the discontinuation of their education. Recognizing that addressing the fundamental need for food and nutrition is the foundation for any meaningful progress, the Food Seva project strives to break this cycle of adversity.
Living in dire circumstances, these individuals often fall ill due to a lack of access to quality healthcare, made worse by financial constraints. Those with pre-existing health conditions are forced to discontinue their medications, faced with the difficult choice between feeding their families and affording essential treatments. In this context, food emerges as the primary medicine for a healthy and happy life.
Every aspect of the Food Seva initiative has been meticulously conceptualized based on the genuine needs of the communities it serves. A shining example is the unique Midnight Seva, conducted between midnight and 6 am. Recognizing that truck drivers, tirelessly navigating the country's roads around the clock, face accidents due to exhaustion and drowsiness, the initiative sought to address their hunger during these critical hours. Many truck drivers, driving long distances, struggle to afford a proper meal even once a day. By ensuring these drivers are well-fed and refreshed, the initiative contributes not only to their well-being but also to the safety of all road users during the late-night hours.
The overarching goal of Sai Aashraya's 24/7 Food Seva is to make a tangible difference in the lives of those it serves. By providing sustenance three times a day, the project seeks to satiate hunger and lay the foundation for transformative change. In recognizing that nourished lives are the catalysts for positive transformation, this initiative embodies the spirit of pure love manifesting itself as service leading to the hope for a brighter future.
At the heart of Sai Aashraya's mission lies our central kitchen, a culinary haven nestled within the campus of our hospital. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, this kitchen is the epicentre of our daily mass cooking efforts. Guided by a team of five extraordinary cooks, under the support and direction of Sai Aashraya's core team, we work tirelessly to prepare fresh and nourishing food round the clock. Love is our primary ingredient, infusing every meal with a touch of warmth and care. Dedicated volunteers actively participate in the food preparation process, taking turns to ensure that the food prepared is loaded onto Sai Aashraya's Food Truck, ready to be shared with those in need.
Our central kitchen operates with clockwork precision, delivering the most wholesome and delectable meals in the highest hygienic conditions. We prioritize quality in our provisions, sourcing fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, and staples in bulk every month directly from local farms.
Sai Aashraya's Food Truck is not merely a vessel for transporting meals; it has been ingeniously modified to carry clothing and other essential items as well. Our volunteers meticulously pack new or gently used clothes, washed and ironed with care, distributing them to individuals as needed. The Food Truck has evolved into a symbol of love and joy, receiving a warm welcome wherever it goes. Throughout the pandemic, we have distributed over 5000 pairs of clothes, providing comfort and dignity to those in need.
Our dedicated volunteers operate in two teams: one focused on serving meals and the other on making meaningful connections with the community. Recognizing the importance of education, we identify children not attending school and ensure their return with all their needs met, from uniforms to stationery. For those facing financial barriers to higher education, Sai Aashraya steps in, supporting college fees, internships, and other educational pursuits. Many students meet us regularly and while expressing their gratitude, pledge to make the opportunity count helping other children like them in the future.
In addition to serving food, our volunteers guide those seeking employment in a systematic manner. By mapping their skill sets, we work to enhance their capabilities through upskilling initiatives, empowering individuals to overcome barriers to employment and pursue meaningful livelihoods with a higher purpose.
What we do
At the core of Sai Aashraya's mission is the first pillar—Food & Nutrition. Sai Aashraya's 24/7 Food Seva is more than just serving food; it's a transformative force, touching lives and sowing the seeds of positive change within the communities we serve.
As families come together to share meals, the smiles on their faces reflect not just the fact that the food is provided free of cost, but that each morsel is infused with love. The impact is heartwarming; the battle for daily sustenance in the slums is replaced with relief and happiness.
Addressing hunger has paved the way for individuals to secure employment, guided by our dedicated volunteers who tirelessly assist in this process. Many have achieved self-sustainability, leaving behind social challenges like smoking and drinking. The happiness within each family becomes a beacon that can radiate through the Society, Nation, and the World.
Serving food with love becomes more than an act of nourishment—it is an excuse to communicate with the person's heart, fostering a shared connection. In this shared experience, a profound transformation occurs; we begin to see ourselves in every person we meet, becoming better individuals each day. Our goal is to carry out this Seva meticulously, ensuring no one goes to sleep hungry. Looking ahead, we aspire to adopt more schools, extend our service to additional localities, and collaboratively bring about holistic transformation.
When one area or neighborhood becomes self-sufficient, the local volunteers ask us to stop providing food because they believe they can manage on their own. But here's the beautiful part—they don't stop there. They passionately express their self-reliance and earnestly volunteer to join forces with us. Their generous hearts resonate with a profound vision - they not only desire to witness but actively contribute to the transformative journey of the underserved, deeply yearning to see their lives undergo the same remarkable transformation that has enriched and empowered their own.
The 24/7 Food Seva is a daily celebration that brings joy to both the young and the old. At Sai Aashraya, we immerse ourselves in this joyful festival, where love and happiness multiply with each passing moment. Going beyond simply providing meals, we understand that food becomes the catalyst for transforming lives. As of October 2023, we are proud to have served approximately 6.3 million meals, each one cooked with love. Our unwavering commitment to creating a positive impact remains steadfast and resolute.