Since the beginning of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been doing its part to help, worldwide. The major donor of this food has been ISKCON in India, that has served more than 50 million meals and dry good boxes through its 75+ kitchens across 22 states, starting in early March until June 8th when the country began to re-open.
ISKCON India’s resident monks and volunteers distributed these meals to the very poor, daily-wage families, migrant workers, essential workers and tribal communities. It was ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada’s vision, that no one within a ten-mile radius of any ISKCON center should go hungry.
“Today I visited @iskconglobal Central Kitchen at Dwarka, Delhi set up by @ISKCON_Dwarka with support from @DMSouhtWest1. It is providing food to about 5 lakh [500,000] migrant workers & needy people in #Delhi during #COVID19. I commend them for this great humanitarian effort,” tweeted G. Kishan Reddy, India Minister of State of Home Affairs.
ISKCON’s largest kitchen was in New Delhi, the nation’s capital, which prepared 250,000 meals daily. It’s eco-friendly technology, including the use of 300 battery-operated, GPS tagged shuttle cars, helped to ensure timely delivery. In Kerala, India ISKCON was feeding nearly 700 police officers on a daily basis. Generous donations, like those provided by cricket celebrity Sourav Ganguly, who later tweeted “Thank u ISKCON .. keep serving the society” enabled ISKCON Kolkata to double the number of meals distributed daily to 20,000 during that period.
In addition to these meals, ISKCON was providing supplies such as face masks and sanitizers via food-relief centers.
The Delhi government nominated ISKCON as a “Mother NGO” for this period, and ISKCON coordinated alongside the government and other district NGOs to assist the food relief efforts in the state. These food-relief activities have been supported by the federal and state governments in India and have drawn appreciation.
In the United Kingdom, the Hare Krishna Food For All program has been feeding 5,500 people in London, daily.
In Orlando, the Veda Foundation has been distributing food to their local hospitals, and first responders including police departments, and fire departments. Sheriff Micheal Chitwood of Volusia County wrote “The Indian chow mein, fried rice and pizza were very good. But the cupcakes were exceptional!” Veda Foundation has distributed more than 15,000 meals to date at a rate of 250 meals a day.
In Gainesville Florida, Krishna Lunch is distributing 100 meals a day to local healthcare workers.
In ISKCON New York, has been distributing food to healthcare workers and teaming up with other community distribution centers.
Many other ISKCON communities around the globe are also distributing food, although in smaller quantities.