By Suresh Bodiwala
Tampa Bay: The Akshaya Patra Foundation USA’s Tampa Chapter raised $2.5 million to build a new kitchen in Mota Fofalia, Gujarat, at its annual benefit recently. Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO-run school meal program, and provides school meals to 1.6 million children in 13,210 government schools across India.
Dr. Kiran Patel, a local Tampa doctor and community philanthropist, galvanized the event supporters with a $1 million pledge to build a new kitchen in Mota Fofalia, a rural village south of Vadodara. Dr. Kiran Patel, says, “The gift of education is the best that somebody can give to anyone. Imagine a holistic approach where you also provide nourishment for the needy so you are providing health and education together”.
Dr. Vijay Patel, a local Tampa doctor, community philanthropist, and a member of Volunteer Committee pledged $500,000. Dr. Vijay Patel, says, “I feel pride in joining with Tampa community and Dr. Kiran Patel to take the path of Akshaya Patra and build a kitchen in Gujarat in where over 50,000 children will be fed.”
Local businessman, Mr. Vijay Patel pledged $250,000 with an additional $250,000 pledged by Tampa bay community members. Akshaya Patra Director of Development, Manisha Gandhi says, “It has been a remarkable experience to develop Tampa Bay Chapter. This was only the second event but the community is very passionate and came together to fund a kitchen in Gujarat. Dr. Kiran Patel, Dr. Vijay Patel, and businessman Vijay Patel are leading the project with highest in contributions. Dr. Kiran Patel is an inspiration for many in the USA with his Philanthropic efforts. It is heartwarming personally because this kitchen will provide meals for children in my home town of Dabhoi, Gujarat also.” The Tampa Volunteer Chapter plan to raise a total of $3.1 million.
Dr. Kiran Patel, Dr. Vijay Patel, and Mr Vijay Patel created an appeal video for the Mota Fofalia fundraiser, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/dStQtsTSn0E
Desh Deshpande, Chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation USA and the event’s keynote speaker, congratulated the Tampa Chapter, saying, “The Tampa Chapter is an example of what a community can accomplish when they come together to improve the futures of children in a community a world away”.
Dr. Kaushal Chari, Chair of the Tampa Chapter, “I would like to thank Dr. Kiran Patel, Dr. Vijay Patel, Mr. Vijay Patel and the Tampa Chapter for bringing the Mota Fofalia kitchen to fruition. When completed, the Mota Fofalia will nourish the dreams of the 100,000 children the kitchen will serve every day. Their outstanding generosity and continued dedication to reaching their $3.1 million goal inspires our organization to reach greater achievements of impact and scale. For every $15 they raise, they are providing food for education”.
The 2016 Tampa Event Volunteer Committee was led by Dr. Kaushal Chari, Mr. Fazal Dasankop, Dr. Dilip Mehta, Dr. Ashok Modh, Dr. Vijay Patel, Mr. Vijaya Prakash, Dr. Raju and Anita Rao, Dr. Madhavi Sekharam and Mr. Sri Sridharan.
Akshaya Patra operates 26 kitchen facilities across India. Each of the 24 centralized kitchens utilizes state-of-the-art technology to freshly prepare 100,000 hot, nutritious meals daily. Each of the kitchens follows the highest standards of hygiene and food safety, and 13 of the kitchens have received already been certified as FSMS ISO 22000:2005 compliant, which means they meet the standards of the International Food Safety Management System (FSMS). The International Organization for Standardization established the ISO 22000 certification to ensure the safety of the global food supply chain. Akshaya Patra operates three other kitchens in Gujarat in Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Surat. These kitchens prepare meals for 407,992 children in 1,475 government schools. To support the Akshaya Patra Tampa Bay Mota Fofalia campaign, please visit: https://www.foodforeducation.org/campaign/mota-fofalia-kitchen