Food, blankets, lamps, stoves and fuel…
The following is a letter from one of the Village Leaders:
TO WHOM, IT MAY CONCERN
Due to an unexpected earthquake on 26.01.2001, the entire residents of Bhadreswar village were put in a fearful awkward situation, but fortunately, a team of Food for Life volunteers from ISKCON-Vadodara and Vallabh Vidyanagar centers came to our village to help. They observed that the village people were completely desperate for help as they had lost their homes and relatives. Food for Life immediately established a tent in the village and set up a kitchen. They provided us prasad (sanctified food) twice a day, allowing all of us sit together without any discrimination of cast and creed. They also distributed blankets, household kits, and medicine, etc., and provided so many other important services. They served our village continuously keeping their kitchen active day and night for 14 days.
In my capacity as a Sarpanch (elected head of the village), on behalf of the villagers, we express our deepest feelings of gratitude that we will never forget the obligation of the devotees of ISKCON throughout our lifetime. Not only did they serve prasad for the 6,000 residents of our village, but your team distributed prasad and necessities to the six or seven surrounding villages. We heartily offer thanks to all of the volunteers who so kindly helped us. Actually, we do not find appropriate words to describe and praise your selfless services.
Over and above these words of thanks, we would like to point out that our Bhadreswar village of 6,000 is very poor. No one in our village is rich. There are no big companies established in the village. Till now, the village has not received any aid from the Government, nor from any other private firm, except some cash-doll money and 5 kg of grain from the Government. In view of this, the future of the village people is precarious because we are staying outside the village in a temporally built tent in the open field.
We ask you to kindly bestow your mercy and adopt our village under your shelter and management to construct our 1,000 houses. This is our sincere hope. We trusted this meets you well.
Chandulal Velji Kanah
Hundreds of thousands benefited daily from Food for Life Relief effort in Gujarat and Kutch.
February 15, Mumbai, India— A team of Food for Life volunteers from the ISKCON temple in Juhu have set up a base in the Rapar district of Kutch to provide sanctified hot meals to earthquake victims in Gujarat and Kutch.
A typical breakfast includes puri, (hot bread), pakora (vegetable fritters), halava (semolina pudding), puffed rice, poha and boiled rice and is served every morning beginning at 7am. Lunch consists of puri, subji (vegetable curry), rice, dal, halava and pakora and is distributed from eight mobile vans. Packets of biscuits, butter, bread rolls and toast are also distributed freely.
Food for Life is also providing relief supplies and uncooked food grains to local village authorities to distribute to villagers as needed.
Aside from great tasting food, the most unique feature of the Food for Life program is the spirituality with which the relief effort is being offered. ISKCON devotees are entertaining the villagers with melodious singing and dancing. Nitai Pad Kamal Das, Director of Food for Life at ISKCON Juhu, commented, “When the people join with us in the chanting of the Lord’s holy name they completely forget their misery and start smiling again.”
Other Food for Life teams from the ISKCON temples in Baroda, Ahmedabad and Surat have also sent teams of volunteers to other quake-hit areas.