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Akshaya Patra Raises $750,000 At Annual Benefit Gala

Press Release


Boston-- The Akshaya Patra Foundation hosted a successful benefit gala on Sunday, September 21 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham. The sold out event attracted over 400 community leaders from diverse professions. For some it was their first introduction to Akshaya Patra. The gala featured speeches from the Guest of Honor, Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys and Congressman Jim McGovern, D-MA, Co-chair, Congressional Hunger Center and an honorary member of the Akshaya Patra Advisory Board.

Akshaya Patra raised $750,000 that will help provide mid day meals to underprivileged school children in India. The pledges made during the evening were matched dollar for dollar by Jaishree and Desh Deshpande and two dollars for every dollar pledged by Sudha and Narayana Murthy.  

Akshaya Patra USA’s board chair, Desh Deshpande, in his opening remarks outlined the twin purpose of the gala, to celebrate the successes of Akshaya Patra and to honor the guest of honor Narayana Murthy, recipient of Padma Vibhushan and an icon in the Indian community.

Congressman McGovern, an authority on international midday meal programs lauded Akshaya Patra as a global model of efficiency and sustainability. He said Akshaya Patra Foundation provides a model for the rest of the world to follow. Gene White, President, Global Child Nutrition Foundation, congratulated Akshaya Patra and shared Congressman McGovern’s sentiment, “We look to the future when hunger will no longer be a barrier to the health and education of the world’s children, and we are confident that Akshaya Patra will lead the way to achieve this.”

Murthy in his keynote address shared some chilling statistics on hunger and poverty and set the stage for why it is important to support Akshaya Patra with a proven track record and demonstrated impact. He discussed how far India has come over the last 50 years, but how far it has yet to go and how Akshaya Patra is addressing two critical challenges facing India - poverty and educational issues facing India today. His inspiring and energizing remarks were followed by a short movie that highlighted the Akshaya Patra’s centralized kitchens, hallmark of the program that beckons imagination.

“The event was an opportunity to honor Murthy who has given the global world a blueprint for leadership and for never shrinking from giving back to the society,” said MadhuSridha, President r of Akshaya Patra. “The evening brought together those committed to Akshaya Patra and those just being introduced to the cause. There was contagious enthusiasm, positive energy and strong commitment to address the challenge facing the next generation. “

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest NGO run midday meal program that feeds over 960,000 underprivileged children daily in over 5,700 schools in six states in India.  Akshaya Patra is a public-private partnership that combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs $28 to feed a child daily for the entire year. For many of the children this is their only complete meal for the day. This gives them an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning.

Through kitchens specially designed by engineers to leverage technology and sourcing its food stocks from local markets, Akshaya Patra is able to reduce costs associated with transportation and food spoilage while supporting the local economy. In a short time, the foundation has grown to become the largest, and certainly most innovative, school lunch program in the world. Akshaya Patra is a great example of what a non-profit organization can achieve-- a cost effective, scalable solution with high quality service delivery.

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