Akshaya Photos
the feeding program

Delivering Meals that Heal

One of the most devastating physical hardships faced by the deserted helpless is hunger. Facing days without the hope of having even the smallest morsel of food destroys all hope of salvation from a life of misery. The body's basic functions struggle to continue, the mental processes become confused and the pain can not be measured.

To combat roadside hunger for the helpless, Krishnan and the Akshaya Trust volunteers have prepared and delivered three meals a day every day of the year for ten years — that's over 1,900,000 meals. Akshaya is now feeding approximately 450 deserving people a day. Once the Akshaya Home is completed and functioning the task of feeding those in need will substantially change. Food preparation will be more efficient and the drain on resources to distribute the food will be substantially reduced.

Preparation

Cooking three meals a day for 450 people would be a major task for a well staffed restaurant with the best of equipment. For Krishnan and the volunteers at Akshaya Trust it is a routine done three times a day with minimal staff, very basic equipment and in less than an hour for each meal.

All meals are prepared using ingredients from local markets that are selected for freshness, nutritional value and taste. They are then combined according to local recipes with spices, rice, lentils and other appropriate ingredients. The recipes are also selected based on their appropriateness for a meal that is delivered and served on the roadside to people in many separate locations.

Krishnan gathering food

Delivery

Delivery means getting the food and water loaded in the van. It also means bringing it to those that are desperate for the food. Since many of the people served by Akshaya wander about Madurai it can be very difficult finding them. This is especially true during the monsoon season.


Krishnan Feeding

The Menu

The food prepared by Akshaya Trust follows recipes that are traditional in Madurai as well as many other parts of India. They include:

  • Idli — A tasty cake usually about 9 cm in diameter and made by steaming fluffy dough of fermented rice and lentils. It is a traditional and healthy morning meal, especially in southern India.
  • Pongal — Lentils are dry-roasted and steam cooked with rice. Fat, including cooking oil, and clarified butter are heated. Curry leaves, chopped ginger bits, pepper, cumin seed, and salt are added. The cooked rice lentil mixture is added and thoroughly mixed.
  • Upma — Cooked semolina seasoned with green chili, curry leaves and ginger. Vegetables may be added.
  • Oothappam — Made with an idli-like dough but instead of steaming it is oil roasted. Vegetables may be added.
  • Dosai — A crepe made from fermented rice and lentils. A typical south Indian dish served for breakfast or dinner.
  • Biryani — A dish of great variety, often rice cooked with a lot of vegetables.
  • Parotta — A layered flatbread of India cooked in a frying pan using edible oils.
  • Roti — A flatbread often made with wheat flour.
  • Sambar — A sauce prepared with tamarind, lentil, chili powder and fenugreek powder. Vegetables are cooked in the sauce.