Emergency Relief

FOOD FOR LIFE volunteers are recognized for their selfless dedication, compassion, and bravery.

Throughout the fighting in Grozny, Sarajevo, and Sukhumi — Food for Life was there; attending to earthquake victims in Haiti, Armenia, Russia and India — Food for Life was there; saving stranded villagers during floods in West Bengal, earthquakes in Nepal, floods in India, Pakistan, Poland and the Philippines — Food for Life was there; feeding hungry children in South Africa and the millions of others in the streets of nearly every major city in the world Food for Life volunteers are there nourishing people with pure plant-based meals.

Donate to the Food for Life Global Emergency Fund

The following is a list of most of the disasters, Food for Life Global affiliates have responded to:

The war in Donbass, Ukraine (2014-2016)

Beginning in 11/11/2014), the volunteer-based non-profit, Food for Life Donetsk has been feeding the most vulnerable people affected by the armed conflict in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, distributing about 6,000 vegan meals per week and to date serving over 500,000 meals. Read more

Syrian Refugee Crisis in Europe (2015)

Teams from Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Paris and London helped provide meals to tens of thousands of refugees flooding through Europe. Currently, with many borders being closed, FFL Serbia is the only remaining relief team operating, but 2 to 3 times a week, refugees receive a hot vegan meal.

Read more

Earthquake Relief in Nepal (2015)

nepal-FFL1Food for Life Nepal was quick to respond to this massive earthquake that devastated the region. Volunteers started serving hot vegan meals the following day and continued to visit remote villages with bikes and cook on the spot to ensure that their countrymen and women were not left hungry. Over 200,000 meals were served in the months following and the program continues to this day in schools providing hot lunches to school children.

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Floods in West Bengal (2015)

The home of Food for Life has a history of flooding and this year another massive flood caused wholesale destruction and inconvenience to millions. Volunteers from FFL Mayapur cooked and then served hot kitchri (vegetable and bean stew) to thousands using boats. Read more.

Typhoon Haiyan Relief (2013)

Food for Life in PhilippinesFood for Life’s unique contribution to the disaster is their freshly cooked vegan meals. “No other agency is doing this,” exclaimed Balaram. According to Balaram, all other food relief agencies are distributing canned goods, instant noodles, and uncooked rice. “Food for Life’s prasadam (sanctified vegan meals) are making a huge impact and providing real nourishment for body, mind, and soul. We are so happy seeing them smiling while they take our meals, it really touches our hearts,” he told us. Read more…

Cyclone Phillus (2013)

Food for Life Global affiliate ISKCON Food Relief Foundation and its Food for Life Annamrita team responded to the massive cyclone with 30,000 hot vegan meals.

Japan Tsunami (2011)

watari-cho19Food for Life Global affiliate FFL Japan provided thousands of kg of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked vegetarian dinners to survivors living in shelters in Wataricho Shiyakysho in the Miyagi-ken district for many months following the devastating tsunami. More

Pakistan Flood Relief (2010)

Local FFL affiliate SKBP provided hot vegan meals to thousands of refugees from various tent cities in Karachi and Hyderabad. More

Haiti Earthquake (2010)

Volunteers from all over the world converged on the small island to set up a food kitchen in cooperation with the World Food Programme and other agencies. More

Bangladesh Cyclone Relief (2007)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Hundreds of thousands of survivors struggled after the deadliest cyclone to hit the area in a decade. Soon after the dust settled, a team of volunteers consisting of Krishna monks and Indian businessmen traveled to Khulna, Bagherhat, Potuakhali and Barishal to conduct several Food for Life programs for survivors. A large truck was loaded with flat rice and Kichuri (bean stew), while the volunteers traveled overnight in two vans from Dhaka to Sharankhola, Bagherhat which is one of the most affected places by the cyclone. More…

Pakistan Earthquake (2005)

Food for Life volunteers from Jammu, Amritsar, New Delhi and Haridwar came together to provide relief for victims of the recent earthquake in Pakistan. Working from an ISKCON temple in Udhampur, which was within the earthquake-affected region, the volunteers loaded trucks with drinking water, rice, bread, and blankets. Soon after arriving in fresh meals were cooked and survivors were fed, sheltered and clothed by Food for Life.Some of the towns visited by the FFL relief team were, Baramulla, Kapwana, Kamalkot, Bandi, Kandi Barjalaand Lagama situated high up in the hills where the most severe devastation took place.Local military and police worked side by side the FFL team as they traveled all over the region stopping at every demolished structure and distributing food, tents and blankets. Leader of the relief team, Navayogendra swami was careful to treat the survivors respectfully, sitting everyone down and gifting all the supplies they needed, starting with the elderly, women and children. More

Katrina and Rita Relief (2005)

Food For Life Global, was one of the first responders to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in late August, by providing freshly cooked meals to needy families in Mississippi and the surrounding area. Soon after a new team was serving hot meals to survivors of both Hurricanes in Texas.A Food for Life team based in Houston began serving hot meals to the many displaced victims who had been relocated to shelters. Up to 800 meals were served daily to Hurricane survivors located in various shelters throughout Texas. All the meals were freshly cooked and made with organic vegan ingredients. The Red Cross considered FFL meals to be the best available to survivors. Read more

Tsunami Relief, Sri Lanka, India (2004)

The strongest earthquake in 40 years set off a string of killer Tsunami waves that utterly devastated the coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and other nearby islands, killing nearly 200,000 people.Food for Life was quick to respond again, providing relief support and hot vegetarian meals to needy people on the same day of the disaster. In Sri Lanka alone more than 10,000 meals were being provided daily, along with medical care, clothing, and shelter for orphaned children at the Bhaktivedanta Gokulam orphanage in Colombo. Read more

Earthquake in Gujarat (2001)

The strongest earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, occurred at 8:46 AM local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. The earthquakes struck while Indians were celebrating the country’s 51st Republic Day, a public holiday commemorating the adoption of the constitution. As with public holidays in the United States, government offices and most businesses were closed when the powerful quakes struck. In the Gujarat town of Anjur (population: 90,000), about 400 schoolchildren and their teachers were covered by tons of falling masonry while walking in a Republic Day parade. More than 130 Food for Life volunteers, including 50 doctors and nurses set up a temporary hospital and food distribution camps in devastated areas. More…

Mozambique, February, (2000)

Torrential rains poured continuously fell over Mozambique causing the biggest flood in its history in 1997. The damage was severe. Entire villages were covered by water, crops destroyed and arable land rendered unusable for the next three years. Some people had to take refuge on rooftops and trees – one lady even gave birth to a child on a tree! Food for Life was there as usual bringing vegan stew by boat to the villagers and over a period of a few months, served tens of thousands of people a variety of hot meals all prepared on site at the FFL makeshift kitchen tent.

 Orissa, India, (1999)

A massive super cyclone crashed through coastal Orissa, bringing with it twenty-five-foot tidal waves and wind speeds of up to 260 kmph, causing coconuts to fly nearly as fast as bullets! The aftermath killed more than 20,000 villagers, destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland and cattle, and left more than 1 million of Orissa’s people homeless, hungry and dazed. Food for Life was able to distribute more than one million vegetarian meals, 40,000 bottles of water, blankets, clothes, and first aid treatment to the needy.

Nicaragua, Central America (1998)

Soon after the devastating hurricane “Mitch” ripped through most of the Caribean, hundreds of thousands of people found themselves homeless and without food. Relief agencies moved in to set up temporary housing, provide clothing and food. Food for Life also contributed to the massive relief efforts by providing freshly cooked vegetarian meals to thousands daily.

Irkutsk, Siberia (1997)

A huge Russian military transport plane crashed into an apartment block Saturday, killing at least 23 people on board and as many as 120 civilians on the ground. The plane burst into a ball of fire, setting other nearby buildings ablaze. Local Food for Life volunteers from Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude immediately got into action, providing hot vegan meals cooked in their nearby kitchen. More than 800 full meals of porridge, stewed vegetables, fresh bread and tea were supplied to victims and rescue workers, who worked hard during the 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) frost. The program continued for many days until all survivors were safe and healthy. Food for Life emergency relief in Russia continued to expand after this incident and has gone on to become a leading NGO in the region.

Prague, Czech Republic (1997)

Devastating floods, the worst in recent history, submerged one-third of the Czech Republic. Thousands of people had to be relocated as tens of thousands of homes were completely destroyed. Food for Life volunteers from Prague went out to the afflicted areas to provide hot food to the homeless. Using the kitchen of a local school they prepared vegetable stew and served thousands of people over the following weeks.

Wroclaw, Poland, (1997)

For two weeks, tens of thousands of people were stranded after massive floods devastated most of Poland in 1997. “There is hardly any clean drinking water available, and in some places, no gas either,” explains Madhyadvipa Das, who directs Food for Life in Poland and which has been the main food relief in the country. ” Volunteers served hot soup and sandwiches from their vans throughout the city and on occasion even used small boats to reach stranded people. Tens of thousands of people were fed.

GROZNY, Chechnya, (1995)

Since the beginning of the Russian counterinsurgency campaign into this breakaway republic, that began on Dec. 11, 1995, Food for Life volunteers from Moscow and St Petersburg risked their lives to serve up to 2 million bowls of hot porridge, freshly baked bread and tea to the local residents. The project operated out of an abandoned school kitchen and continued for 2 years. The New York Times reported:”… here they have a reputation like the one mother Teresa has in Calcutta: it’s not hard finding someone to swear they are saints.”  Read More… – To read the New York Times article in full.

 SAKHALIN, Russia (1995)

An earthquake measuring 7.2 flattened this small city in the far eastern peninsula of Russia. The following day, Food for Life volunteers were flown in by helicopter by the Russian Emergency Ministry, to provide hot food to survivors and rescue teams who worked around the clock to find bodies.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (1994)

This once beautiful tourist town of former Yugoslavia was the site of one of the most vicious conflicts in recent times. ISKCON members have a temple in Sarajevo and all throughout the fighting, they risked their lives to deliver fresh bread and cookies to women and children hiding in bullet-riddled apartments. Read More

Mayapur, West Bengal (annually)

The famous Ganges river floods West Bengal every 1-2 years causing massive devastation and claiming many lives. During such floods, Food for Life volunteers prepare hot kichri (vegetarian stew), using huge 200 gallon woks, even while standing in one foot of water, and carry the food on boats to hungry and distressed villagers awaiting on rooftops. The flooding of the Ganges is an annual event so volunteers ready themselves the weeks prior to potential flooding and able to respond immediately just as they did in 1974 when the Food for Life program began.

SUKHUMI, Abkhazia – FSU, (1992 to 1994)

A small group of Food for Life volunteers called the “Saffron Berets” remained in this shell-shocked city, often risking their lives to bring hot kasha to the needy on both sides of the fighting. Their neutrality and peacefulness won the hearts of soldiers from both armies who spared their lives. The program continues to this day. Over two million meals have been served. Read more

LATUR, India (1994)

A massive earthquake devastated this town, killing 20,000. Within hours, Food for Life volunteers from Mumbai (Bombay), were on the spot, with hot food and clothing for the survivors. 60,000 meals were served.


Donate to the Food for Life Global emergency fund to help FFLG coordinate disaster relief when the need arises.