Hare Krishna Food for Life (FFL) is the world’s largest vegetarian food distribution program serving millions of meals daily, with projects in over 60 countries. With roots in the Vaishnava culture of charity and the distribution of pure food to all, the project is a modern day revival of the ancient culture of hospitality and a belief in the equality of all beings. Food For Life has been lauded by The New York Times and government relief agencies worldwide for its efforts worldwide.
Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON’s Founder-acarya, is the inspiration behind Food for Life. He stated in 1972 that “No one within ten miles of an ISKCON temple should go hungry.” Since that time ISKCON devotees have expanded a global network of free food restaurants, mobile services and relief programs establishing daily delivery routes in many large cities around the world.
Currently, Food for Life’s largest programs are in India. More than 1.2 million school children are a served multi-course hot, healthy, and tasty lunch six days a week in cities throughout the sub-continent, through a partnership with the Indian government for the ‘Mid-day Meal’ scheme. Education administrators have stated that the ISKCON Food for Life program, known locally as Annamrita, actually facilitates many poor children to attend school. Otherwise, they explain, without the program the children would be forced to work as child laborers to earn enough to eat for the day.
Food for Life volunteers also respond to natural disasters, bringing food and hope into the lives of people affected by events such as the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, the typhoon Haiyan, and Hurricane Katrina.
“(ISKCON) movement, Just imagine…within a short span of time…today I am told ISKCON movement runs more than 600 centres all over the world, everyday in India it provides food to over one million children…healthy food…and the message…of love, compassion, which is inherent in Indian civilization.”
– Pranab Mukherjee, President of India.