Hello FEED Community! We are very excited to announce our third official giving partner, Akshaya Patra! Every FEED purchase will now help provide school meals in India, as well as around the globe, through our three nonprofit partners – Akshaya Patra, the UN World Food Programme, and No Kid Hungry.
Many years ago, FEED collaborated with designer Rachel Roy and Bloomingdales, on a collection of beautiful, hand-block printed bags made in India. In addition to supporting artisans in India, we wanted to fight hunger locally. This was my first introduction to Akshaya Patra, who runs the world’s largest NGO-operated school feeding program in the world, feeding 1.8 million children every day in India.
India makes up nearly 18% of the global population, making them the second most populous country in the world. Despite India’s steady economic growth, they still face substantial challenges including hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and food insecurity. Over 15% of the world’s undernourished population lives in India, with nearly 22% of the population living on less than $1.90 (in US dollars) a day. With nearly 40% of students dropping out after primary school to help support their families, a mid-day meal program is a powerful tool in not only fighting childhood hunger, but in increasing school attendance.
And as my team and I have continued to track Akshaya Patra’s work in India over the years, I have personally been very impressed not only by the scale in which they operate across India, reaching kids in over 19,000 schools every day with a mid-day meal, but also the efficiency in which they do it. Their 55 centralized, state-of-the-art kitchens can prepare up to 100,000 meals in just four hours, which are then quickly distributed to nearby schools that same day. They also work groups of local women to help run decentralized kitchens on school premises.
Akshaya Patra’s vision, that “no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger” is a powerful one that mirrors FEED’s guiding mission. It is our belief that children everywhere have the right to the basic human needs they require to grow and thrive, like food and nutrition, but also an education, which brings the opportunity for a brighter future.
In addition to helping fight childhood hunger in India, we’ve been increasing our support of artisan collectives across the country. In 2021, 73% of our total production will be made by artisans in India, using GOTS certified Organic cotton. We are so proud to work with these ethical suppliers and to do so in a more sustainable and conscious way. Whenever possible, it’s so important to us to have a 360 degree approach – supporting local artisans and their communities and helping to provide school meals in those same regions.
As we grow as a brand, at the heart of FEED will always our mission, helping to fight childhood hunger by providing school meals around the globe. We’re so proud to expand our reach and make an even bigger difference, with every single purchase.
So thank you, for helping us do a world of good.
Lauren Bush Lauren