Food for Life 2013 Summary Report

Food for Life 2013 Summary Report

Dear friends and supporters, Thank you very much for your support this year. It has been an eventful year for Food for Life Global and myself as director. Late last year, I decided that 2013 would be a year of travel to help inspire and guide the volunteers, as well as promote my new book, FOOD YOGA – Nourishing Mind, Body & Soul, which captures the very essence of what Food for Life is all about. In just 8 months, I visited 28 countries! PAWS – new affiliate So on March 8, I headed West from Sydney, Australia with my first stop being Perth. In Perth, I got to see first-hand one of the most innovative Food for Life projects we have, PAWS headed by long time FFL volunteer, David Reynolds. PAWS (People & Animal Welfare Society Inc) is a non-profit organization promoting community welfare through Ahimsa (non-violence) and is largely staffed by volunteers. I highly recommend you check them out. See: Midday Meals Next stop was India where I got to see firsthand a couple of our best Food for Life kitchens, run by the FFL Annamrita project headquartered in Mumbai, India. The non-profit partner is responsible for many first-class kitchens that serve over 1.3 million meals daily! You can read about my visit at as well as a nice report on one of their kitchens at Annamrita’s program is based on our belief that one meal a day brings thousands of children to school. You can help every child In this country get an education if you donate that one meal. As of now, we cater to approximately 1,250,000 children every day from our centers in Nigdi, Mira Bhayander, Paighar, Tardeo, Wada, Aurangabad, Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kurukshetra, Palwal, Tirupati, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Kadapa, Ranga Nara Gadda, Jaipur, Ujjain, Jamshedpur, and […]

“Are you an Angel?” – Food for Life Volunteers bring a Christmas smile in Colombia

Juliana helping children in Ecuador

Food for Life Volunteers, Juliana Castaneda and Hema Kanti, with the help of a FFLG small grant, were able to serve a delicious vegan Christmas (prasadam) lunch to the elderly in the geriatric centre, Faith and Hope in Bogota, Colombia. “Everything went beautiful,” explained Juliana. “There were so many happy faces. Christmas is a time to share and show your love and respect to all living beings. During the year I am usually caring for many animals at my shelter, but Christmas is a special time to show love to our human brothers and sisters.” Juliana believes that sharing is the essence of a peaceful and humane world. “Whatever we have we should share with all living entities — human animals and nonhuman animals.” “I feel so blessed to be able to serve others in this way. The food Hema and I served today was all vegan (non-violent) and prepared with love. I spend about 70% of my year sharing and trying to help nohuman animals, so for the remaining 30% I try to share and help human animals,” she said. During the serving, one blind lady pulled at Juliana’s hand and asked her to come closer. Juliana leaned in and the lady began to touch her face and then said, “Oh, you are very beautiful and I can see that you are shinning.” Juliana replied, “What is shinning?” The blind lady continued, “I can see your wings! I’m blind, but I can see your wings are shinning, just like an angel.” Juliana quietly wept. Juliana’s example of selfless service and equality for all beings is something Food for Life Global stands for. To learn more about Juliana Animal Shelter, visit:

Don’t kill an innocent animal when you can gift a vegan meal


The Case against Animal Gifting During the holiday gift-giving season, a popular choice for gift-donations are programs that send live farm animals as “gifts” to help alleviate hunger and poverty in low-income countries. A Well-Fed World examines the flaws in concept and practice with animal-gifting groups in general, and with Heifer International in particular (since they are the largest and most well-known) in their thought-provoking article covering every angle you can imagine, including: it causes more harm to the environment; the fact that many people are lactose-intollerant; the flawed economics of the program and the misleading advertising, etc. The article extensively quotes the opinion of many experts too. The full article is here: Here is a summary of some major reasons: Increased dairy production is frequently touted as one of the greatest successes of animal gifting programs. However, 75% of the world is lactose-intolerant, and 90% of Asian and African populations (toward whom dairy programs are aggressively targeted) are lactose intolerant. Heifer International is largely considered responsible for kick-off of industrialized dairy in Japan after World War II. Heifer International boasts that their projects produced 3.6 million gallons of milk in one year in Uganda and developed a national dairy program in Tanzania. “In Ethiopia, over 40 percent of the population is considered hungry or starving, yet the country has 50 million cattle (one of the largest herds in the world), as well as almost 50 million sheep and goats, and 35 million chickens, unnecessarily consuming the food, land and water… [P]oorly managed cattle grazing has caused severe overgrazing, deforestation, and then subsequent erosion and eventual desertification. Much of their resource use must be focused on these cattle. Raising animals for food requires up to 10 times more water than growing crops for direct consumption. Yet, organizations such as Heifer International promote inherently water-intensive animal farming, even in areas identified as water-scarce. The World Land Trust calls animal gifting programs “madness… […]

Nelson Mandela — The passing of a great friend and hero to the world


Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a great supporter and believer in what Food for Life stood for. He made the above statement at a gathering of 50,000 school children in 1997 who were invited by Food for Life to a public picnic in Durban called the “Festival for the Children of the Rainbow Nation” with President Mandela as its Guest of Honour.  School children and their teachers gathered at Kings Park Soccer stadium. After delivering the key note address, President Mandela extended his stay at the event and spent more than five hours watching the various children’s performances.  He encouraged the children to excel in school, take advantage of the rights afforded to them, and instructed them to appreciate that the generations before them had fought for their freedom. The Mercury Newspaper reported that he stated this was “the happiest day” of his life. To him, the gathering of so many children from diverse backgrounds for a picnic, symbolised what his whole political career had been aiming towards — unity and equality for all. Mr. Mandela was so touched by the joy of the children that he could not contain himself and danced with them for many minutes before giving his touching speech to inaugurate the event. At the same picnic, Thabo Mbeki (Deputy President of South Africa), commented:  “FOOD FOR LIFE is the real Reconstruction and Development Programme. The understanding that if I have a plate of food, let me share it with my neighbour . . . let those who are feeling sad come together with us, and together we can share this burden. This understanding should be taken from FOOD FOR LIFE and transmitted to the entire country.” On this sad day of the passing of a great human being, we bow down to Mr. Mandela and […]

Typhoon Haiyan Vegan Food Relief – Update


November 20-30 — About 8,200 hot vegan meals were served in Tacloban from November 15 to November 20 by the Sankirtan FFL team headed by Balarama Dasa. Simultaneously, another 2,730 vegan meals were served in Manila by the Food for Life team headed by Makanlal Dasa &  head chef Gokula Chandra Dasa. In Cebu, 4,200 hot vegan meals were served from November 23-30 in some places in Northern Cebu with the help of Gopal Krishna Dasa, Jayasri Devi Dasi and her family who owns the Monterey School where the FFL team set up the kitchen. Hot meals were served while some local monks entertained the locals with kirtan. A total of 15,130 meals have been served over the past 13 days. Local Officials Fully Supporting FFL On November 30th, the Food for Life emergency relief team reached Bantayan Island, which took 5 hours by road and a 1 hour barge. The local municipal officials were very supportive of the Hare Krishna Food for life volunteers and enthusiastically provided everything the team needed. They were particularly pleases to learn that they would be serving hot meals. On Sunday December 1st, the team began serving two hot meals daily. “The response was overwhelming,” said Baladeva Dasa. “So many people were starving and rushing to grab the food.” Head chef, Rajendra Dasa and his assistants worked tirelessly day and night to prepare the meals and distribute them to the refugees. Sometimes the volunteers are exhausted and have feelings of stopping for some time, but then when they see the enthusiasm and appreciation in the eyes of the people, they feel totally enlivened again. “I felt so much relief in my heart seeing their bright smiles,” one volunteer explained. “I see that our meals give them a spark of hope and that makes us ready to […]