Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi commemorated The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s serving of cumulative 3 Billion meals at an event held at the organisation’s campus in Vrindavan, Mathura, on 11th February, 2019. The Prime Minister was joined by the Honourable Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Ram Naik, and the Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath.
The event was attended by eminent political figures from Uttar Pradesh including Shri Shrikant Sharma, Minister of Power; Shri Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, Minister - Dairy Development, Religious Affairs, Culture, Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj; and Smt Anupma Jaiswal, Minister of State - Basic Education, Child Development and Nutrition, Revenue and Finance.
Other dignitaries in attendance were Smt Hema Malini, MP - Mathura; Shri Karinda Singh, MLA – Govardhan, Shri Shyam Sunder Sharma, MLA – Mant; Shri Pooran Prakash, MLA - Baldev, and Shri Mukesh Arya Bandhu, Mayor – Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam.
Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa – Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation; Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa – Vice-Chairman, Shri Mohandas Pai - Independent Trustee, other trustees and officials, and Presidents of various regions were present at the occasion.
The event was also attended by prominent personalities from the corporate sector and other esteemed organisations who have been supporters and well-wishers of the Foundation throughout its journey.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi began the ceremony by paying homage to Srila Prabhupada, the inspiration behind Akshaya Patra’s meal programme. Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa welcomed and felicitated the dignitaries. An invocation was sung by Akshaya Patra beneficiaries from Vrindavan. It was followed by speeches by Shri Yogi Adityanath, Shri Mohandas Pai, and Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa. All the dignitaries congratulated Akshaya Patra on attaining the milestone of cumulatively serving 3 Billion meals and pledged their support to the organisation’s endeavour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the commemorative plaque to mark the serving of 3 Billionth meal by Akshaya Patra. He addressed the gathering and showed his support to the Foundation’s initiative by serving the ceremonial 3 Billionth meal. The Prime Minister, much to the delight of the children, even shared meals with them.
Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa expressed his delight over having reached this milestone and conveyed his gratitude to all the stakeholders, including the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), State Governments, corporates, donors, partners, and the community at large, for their continued support. He also reiterated the commitment to serve hot, nutritious, safe, and tasty meals to children every school day and further added that the Foundation will strive to enhance the impact of mid-day meals through various innovative initiatives.
In 2012, Akshaya Patra reached its first major milestone of serving 1 Billion cumulative meals since the inception of the programme in 2000. By 2016, the organisation had already served a cumulative 2 Billion meals. That milestone was commemorated in the presence of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then President of India, on 27th August, 2016, in Bengaluru.
Akshaya Patra is the world’s first NGO-run school meal programme to achieve the milestone of serving 3 Billion cumulative meals. It is a major milestone in the Foundation’s pursuit of the mission to serve meals to 5 million children every school day by 2025. With the support of the Government, donors, and all the other stakeholders, the organisation is poised to realise its vision ‘no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.'