Bengaluru’s KR Market, Gandhinagar, and Ejipura get six mobile food banks

Six mobile food banks have been set up in the slums of Ejipura, an orphanage and old age home in KR Market, Gandhinagar, and at the HSIS Gosha Maternity Hospital
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Since March this year, access to food for low-income communities in certain pockets of the city has become a tad easier. This is courtesy of six mobile food banks that were set up in the slums of Ejipura, an orphanage and old age home in KR Market, Gandhinagar, and at the HSIS Gosha Maternity Hospital. “Our mission is to have 300 mobile food banks each serving 250+ meals a day,” says Kartik Krishnamoorthy, Lead Programme Manager at Atria Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Atria Group) that is behind the project.

The Love All Programme, he says, is an integral part of the No One Goes Hungry – Bengaluru initiative, launched in March, dedicated to the late Chinnaswamy Raju, the founding Chairman of Atria Group. Kartik says Chinnaswamy, with his brother Kuppu Raju, hail from humble backgrounds and were once migrant labourers. During the pandemic, the duo, with their network of friends and family, “rallied together to distribute food to nearly 1.5 to 2 lakh families. Initially, meals were prepared and packed at the Atria Radisson Blu Hotel and distributed across Bengaluru.

Meals are primarily served for lunch, from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, every day

Meals are primarily served for lunch, from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, every day
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

However, as the demand grew, a more structured process was implemented,” says Kartik, adding that they went on to collaborate with Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) across Bengaluru. “The RWAs supplied aluminum covers and sealing machines, and requested residents to cook extra food, pack it, and deliver it to designated collection points.” The Foundation’s vehicles would then pick up these meals and distribute them to those in need. “Even after the pandemic, the need for food remained strikingly high. Surprisingly, food insecurity persisted, affecting nearly 5% to 8% of Bengaluru’s population. A 2019 survey revealed that around 13% of the city’s residents faced severe food insecurity,” says Kartik. 

Today, the mobile food banks report to their central kitchen in Nandini Layout where the food undergoes “rigorous quality checks for taste and nutrition”. Bisibelebhath with kara boondi, vegetable pulao with raita, pongal with chutney, pudina rice with raita, among other dishes, are a part of the 10-day cyclical menu. Once the food is ready, it is transported to designated locations and served on areca plates. “Meals are primarily served for lunch (from 12.30 pm to 2 pm) every day. Dustbins are strategically placed near the food distribution centers, and beneficiaries are regularly educated about proper garbage disposal and hygiene practices,” says Kartik.

Common dishes served include

Common dishes served include
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The central kitchen, he explains, is run by the Integrated Project Development of People (IPDP), which produces 16,500 meals daily for school children. In collaboration with IPDP, the Foundation procures and distributes meals specifically cooked and served for the food banks, distinct from those prepared for government school children.

Future plans for the team include setting up additional food banks across the city. “We have a 10point criteria for identification of a food insecure location. We collaborate with the Karnataka Slum board and various NGOs on the ground to identify these locations,” adds Kartik, who also runs a skill development programme for youngsters hailing from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are trained in a range of vocational skills, including roles in hotels (such as waiters, housekeeping, and front office), accounting, maintenance, food production (kitchen), driving, AC maintenance, electronic equipment repairs, and electrical work and repairs.

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