Food Distribution - Food for Life
Food for Life in Hungary
Recent years have seen an increase in the need to look after those struggling to get by day to day. Today, about 10% of this work is carried out by NGOs. In 1999, the Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness established the Food for Life non-profit foundation to make organisation more efficient and applying for grants more simple. The Foundation is striving to alleviate physical and spiritual suffering by distributing nourishing vegetarian meals.
By distributing free vegetarian food, Food for Life’s mission seeks to restore balance in the world’s food supply. Due to the sincere efforts of Krishna devotees, Food for Life has grown to become the most prominent vegetarian food distribution programme.
Following ancient Indian Vedic scriptures, Krishna devotees only eat food that was prepared using vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products and nuts and that was offered to God before consuming it. Such sanctified meals purify the heart and soul and don’t just satisfy bodily needs but also help to re-establish our original loving relationship with God and to attain inner peace.
Food for Life is ISKCON’s (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) humanitarian organisation striving to serve those in need by distributing food and providing relief for mental health issues. Selling spiritual books, chanting processions on the street and Sunday programmes uplift society spiritually, while our food distribution mission alleviates the daily struggles of getting the next meal, and by food distribution we also increase spiritual consciousness. Our belief is that by providing meals to the needy, we help them sort their life out whereas hunger and starvation numbs any thoughts on how to live a better life.
You can find more information on our webpage: www.karitativ.hu
You can donate to Food for Life at: www.eteltazeletert.hu
Historical background and international activities
In 1972, Srila Prabhupada, the founding teacher of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, asked his followers to start the Food for Life programme after the following incident: he looked out of his window at the Calcutta Temple and at the back of the temple he saw little children fighting for scraps of food left from the temple lunch. According to Hinduism, compassion should be a guiding principle of human life and thus Srila Prabhupada asked his disciples to work towards eliminating all hunger within 10 miles of any Krishna temple.
In the above spirit, Food for Life volunteers have distributed hundreds of millions of hot meals and hundreds of thousands tons of staple foods in sixty countries around the world in the last five decades. Their work to help those in need often takes them to areas ravaged by war or natural disasters. They helped thousands of desperate people in Sarajevo, Kosovo, in Grozny during the Chechen war, after the tsunami in Sri Lanka and the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. Hungarian volunteers travelled to Sri Lanka, Haiti and flood-hit Bosnia and they also provided assistance during floods in Felsőzsolca and the mud spill in Devecser. They fed affected people as well as the emergency services personnel helping them.
There are 211 Food for Life programmes in 150 cities around the world. The Krishna devotees’ Food for Life provides the needy with 2 million nourishing vegetarian meals daily including an Indian school meals programme.
Public food distribution:
Since 2001, the Hungarian Food for Life has increased its food distribution from hundreds of meals daily to thousands. Today, we distribute 500.000 meals annually. We provide hot meals, as well as bread, something to drink, seasonal fresh fruit and some dairy products. Some of those we help are low income pensioners or large families but our help also reaches young people on subsistence wages, psychiatric patients, those temporarily unemployed and homeless people. Our program is essential for the overall support of families and pensioners, as well as those with mental health issues.
In collaboration with organisations looking after families and children in Budapest’s III., VII. and XIV. Districts, we distributed nearly 1000 hot meals as well as bread, fruit and yogurt daily. In Eger, Marcali and Debrecen we run similar programmes. Those in need are assigned our services by welfare institutions. About 80% of the people we help struggle due to financial difficulties and unemployment and if they don’t have to spend on food, they can start repaying their debts, bills and other expenses. Our services thus prevent homelessness.
It is in our common interest that the younger generations grow up happy and healthy both physically and mentally. That is why our Foundation regularly channels the donations it receives to children’s homes and families’ temporary accommodations thus supporting the mental and physical development of the most vulnerable children. Over the years we have seen a steady increase in the number of children’s homes and other institutions we help with hot meals, sweets, yoghurt and fruit. Our award-winning “Like a mouthful of bread” (Mint egy falat kenyér) program is achieving great success in reaching children outside the capital. During the summer holidays, we feed children in summer camps enriching their daily diet with fruit and other healthy options.
Food distribution at Christmas and other holidays
Since 1989, we have been organising a three-day Christmas food distribution program for 1200-1500 people in Budapest. We provide hot meals to those who might find themselves alone on Christmas or don’t have a place to celebrate Christmas. We distribute hot meals and bread, fruit, quality staple foods and candies. In the countryside, we also distribute warm clothes, and toys and books if possible. Around Christmas, our programs serve 15 towns all over Hungary. In recent years, we also started organising major distribution programs at Easter, on World Food Day and Children’s Day in Budapest.
Cooking for charitable institutions
Besides distributing food on the streets, for the past several years, we have been cooking and transporting meals to various institutions. In Budapest, we work with other aid organisations to provide hundreds of meals, food packages and other products daily for their homeless day centres and convalescent homes. Most of our partners are affiliated with the Budapest Methodological Centre of Social Policy and Its Institutions.
Besides the capital, we serve 14 other towns with regular hot meals and food packages as part of our “Like a Mouthful of Bread” program.
Events, summer festivals
We often distribute meals at events and festivals. On such occasions, it is not the vulnerable we provide meals for but the participants of the event, so we prepare vegetarian Indian specialities giving people a chance for a taste of Krishna devotees’ everyday life.
Being a spiritual organisation, we try to find spiritual solutions to the world’s problems. As far as hunger and starvation are concerned, we are convinced that when people recognise the spiritual equality of all living beings and learn to share the world’s resources, there will be no more hunger and strife. Please, be a part of this solution!
Bank account no: MBH 10300002-10631840-49020019
If you like our programmes and wish to support us, the following may be some options:
1 week's meals for 1 person: 2.500 Ft
1 meal for 50 people: 25.000 Ft
1 meal for 100 people: 50.000 Ft
Total monthly bills (gas, electricity, etc) for the kitchen: 650.000 Ft
Total expense for 1 week food distribution 3.000.000 Ft
You can, of course, support our activities with any amount.
Az Ételt az Életért Közhasznú Alapítvány (Foof for Life non-profit organisation):
Address: 1039 Budapest, Lehel u. 15-17.
Phone: (30) 678-3217 és (30) 872-1995
E-mail: [email protected]
Tax number: 18095575-1-41
Bank account no: MBH Bank Nyrt. 10300002-10631840-49020019
IBAN: HU55 1030 0002 1063 1840 4902 0019
Registration number: 7439.
Court registration number: 11. Pk. 60163/1999
Date of registration: 1999. 03. 09.
Date of registration as a non-profit organisation: 1999. 03. 09.