History of
Food for Life

Our History

With roots in Indian culture

Food Yoga International, formerly known as Food for Life Global is a modern-day revival of the ancient Indian culture of hospitality. Since the beginning of recorded time, sharing of food has been a fundamental part of the civilized world and in India, such hospitality was based on the understanding of the equality of all beings.

The Early Days

In 1974, an elderly Indian swami, Srila Prabhupada, shocked and saddened upon seeing a group of village children fighting with street dogs over scraps of food, told his yoga students: “No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry . . . I want you to immediately begin serving food.” Hearkening to the swami’s plea, his followers around the world were inspired to expand that original effort into a global network of free food kitchens, cafes, vans, and mobile services, establishing daily delivery routes in many large cities around the world.

Emergency Relief

Food Yoga International affiliates also provide food relief in times of natural and man-made disasters: In the war zone of Grozny, Chechnya, in 1994-1996, volunteers risked their lives to provide hot meals to the people in the city, serving over 2 million meals. Read the story of the Saffron Beretsand how brave monks saved a city.

When an earthquake devastated Latur, India, in 1993, volunteers drove 300 kilometers to be on the scene within hours, supplying 52,000 meals, clothing, and medical supplies to distressed villagers. 

Food Yoga International’s most valiant efforts in war-torn Grozny, Chechnya were noted in a New York Times article (December 12, 1995) that stated:

“Here, [FOOD FOR LIFE volunteers] have a reputation like the one Mother Teresa has in
Calcutta: it’s not hard finding people to swear they are saints.” – Micheal Spector

– New York Times

Tsunami 2004

Food for Life Global, now known as Food Yoga International was the first food relief agency to respond to the tsunami disaster of December 2004. Volunteers in Sri Lanka and India provided more than 350,000 freshly cooked meals during the months immediately following the tsunami, along with medical care, water, clothing, and shelter.

Pure Food

All food prepared and distributed by Food Yoga International affiliates is first sanctified, a practice that is familiar with the spiritual traditions of Thanksgiving and offering to God the first of the earth’s yield. The meals provided by our affiliate projects thus nourish both body, mind, and soul.

The World’s Largest

Today, Food Yoga International, formerly Food for Life Global has emerged as the world’s largest plant-based food relief program with thousands of volunteers in 65 countries providing billions of free meals since 1974. It’s flagship programs are in India where Food for Life Global’s principal affiliate, Food for Life Annamrita cooks and serves over 1.2 million meals daily to school children as part of the Mid-Day Meal program initiated by the Indian Government.

Over 8 Billion Meals!

By 2024, Food for Life Global affiliates had reached a milestone of serving over eight billion meals
since its humble beginnings in West Bengal.

Food for Life

The premier Food Yoga International affiliate is based in Mumbai, India with branches in most major cities. Annamrita translates as “Food Nectar” and by the look on the faces ofwho the millions of children that receive a hot lunch every day, the food certainly is nectar. Pictured to the left, cooks at the Annamrita kitchen prepare tons of rice using high-pressure steam.

A kitchen like this one can make enough food to feed 65,000 children daily. The hot meals are then stored in stainless steel containers and shipped to hundreds of schools. Learn more about Food for Life Annamrita HERE

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