ISKCON Bhiwandi is running a daily Annadaan Programme since the day 1 of the Pandemic.
MUMBAI, India, March 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its ‘Food For Life’ initiative, ISKCON Bhiwandi has been distributing 1000 free meals every day, since March 2020, to the migrant workers and daily wage labourers in Bhiwandi, who make up 60% of the town’s population. Even during the difficult times of both lockdowns, they daily cooked and distributed free meals to those in need. Since March 2020, the temple has distributed almost 10 lakh free meals to the needy section of the population.
Their consistent effort has garnered the attention of Bhiwandi’s MLA, Shri Mahesh Chougule who stated, “ISKCON Bhiwandi has done valuable social welfare work. They have distributed free meals and other needy things to people at large since last 2 years. I request ISKCON Bhiwandi to please continue the work of food distribution in future as well to needy people.”
As per the 2020 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of the 107 countries, and has a score disturbing score of 27.2, which makes ‘hunger’ a serious issue in the country. Bhiwandi, one of 15 Talukas of Thane district known for its warehouses and hand looms, comprises of 213 villages and 14 towns, that house over 60% of migrant and daily wage workers, making it one of the towns dealing with serious nourishment and hunger challenges. The pandemic made things worse, as a lot of these workers either lost jobs or had to face sever pay cuts. Now, although the lockdown restrictions are over, the plight of these workers is far from over. They continue to suffer from poverty and malnourishment, as their savings are nearly wiped out, and their jobs remain unstable.
Paying heed to their plight, ISKCON Bhiwandi has stepped up its Annadaan free food distribution program. Speaking about these efforts, Sri Narottam Priya Das, Head of ISKCON Bhiwandi, said, “The world has gone through a lot of grief and hardship in the past two years and, in line with the tenet of our revered Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, and the inspiration behind Food for Life initiative, Srila Prabhupada, we aim to do our bit for the community. Acharya Srila Prabhupada had stated that no one within ten miles of an ISKCON temple should go hungry and since then, ISKCON devotees worldwide have been serving people with free, nutritious and Satvic food, on temple premises, through mobile van services, and dedicated community relief programs. Although the lockdown is over, poverty isn’t. Every meal that we provide to daily wage earners below the poverty line translates into savings for them. That in turn can help them take care of certain other expenses. Hence we are convinced that providing them with their daily meal has a positive impact on their lives and we are committed to continuing our Annadaan – free food distribution program.
ISKCON’s ‘Food For Life’ the world’s largest vegetarian food distribution program, serving millions of meals daily, with projects in over 60 countries. In recent times, ISKCON has already distributed over 15 Crore free meals across the country in the past 18 months, and continues to do so through its various locations.
Apart from food, the temple has also been conducting several online sessions focused on mental health management through meditations and chanting, based on the Bhagavad Gita, to help people spiritually. The courses are designed to enable people to re-connect with themselves and discover peace through meditation and chanting the name of Krishna!
About ISKCON Bhiwandi: ISKCON BHIWANDI is located at Mansarovar area of Bhiwandi, and has been working with local communities and residents, conducting several spiritual, religious, and welfare activities as well as promoting the Vedic way of life. An offshoot of the revered ISKCON Juhu temple, the ISKCON Bhiwandi temple was set up in 2010 and has been a center of peace and solace for devotees and locals alike, who have been benefiting from the generous activities and initiatives by the temple.
About Narottam Priya Das: Born as Neel Vaswani, Narottam Priya Das is a former finance professional who left his successful career with Citibank, to become a dedicated ISKCON monk, who has been teaching principles of the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam via workshops, interactive sessions, and weekly classes. Being a professional himself, Narottam Priya Das also conducts special sessions on work-life balance and finding religion in the busy life, and offers gives personalized counselling sessions to working professionals and couples.
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