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Hungry Children Must Be Fed Nutrition to Save the NHS

Akshaya Patra Foundation in Europe | Hungry children
Akshaya patra foundation UK | Bhawani Singh Shekhawat | CEO

As food prices soar in Britain, thousands are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The cost-of-living crisis in the UK has meant that many children of low-income families are eating cheaper food, smaller portions and sometimes sleeping hungry. Food charities, food banks and other helplines are inundated with queries related to the regular supply of food.

London-based food charity The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK (TAPF), reports a 15% increase in enquiries since August 2022, just after they concluded their summer food service when they offered over 70,000 meals in various holiday clubs in London. The beneficiaries are mostly children from low-income families.

8-year-old Prodip Kumar (name-changed), a student at Dormers Wells School in Ealing in West London is fidgety. He looks anxious for a break at school. On the other side of the break is a hot meal, filled with cheese and vegetables, awaiting him. ‘’My name is Prodip, I am 8 years old. My favorite meal is mac and cheese. It is tasty and full of flavor. When I eat food, it makes me feel full. And I want to eat more.” The meals are served by The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK, as part of a special initiative by the school to help out low-income families dealing with rising costs.

“We need solutions that are cost-effective. These meals by Akshaya Patra are cheap – a hot meal with fruit and vegetables for under £3. The portion sizes are good, and many children like to take some food home, maybe for their parents to eat. The food is vegetarian and that feels kind to the earth too.’’ Said Rabia Cornelius, Pupil and Family worker at Dormers Wells Junior School in Ealing.

Tackling Hunger & Malnourishment Together—the Akshaya Patra Way!

While charities, food banks and other organizations are stretched offering support by sharing food, often the thought of what is being fed is neglected. Packaged food from tins, cans are better than suffering hunger. However, nutritionists warn that children consuming highly processed foods, and food so high in salts and sugars over a long period of time can actually be heading to another problem – malnourishment. The spike in illnesses in children over the years has burdened the National Health Scheme in the UK.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK have been thought leaders in tackling Hunger and Malnourishment together at the same time. The charity has a legacy of over 23 years in India, where it serves over 2 million children, daily. These meals are hot, nourishing and vegetarian. With their state-of-the-art kitchen, they can produce freshly cooked food at speed and at scale. The charity launched its first international kitchen in the UK in October 2020. Their fully-steel sustainable kitchen has been donated by philanthropist organization GMSP Foundation. It is the largest of its kind and can cook up to 8,000 meals in 3 hours.

The flagship program is aptly titled Nourish to Flourish thus far already served over 650,000 hot, nutritious, vegetarian meals to children at London schools, holiday clubs and community centres. “Hunger knows no nationality or background. It is a recurring problem – 3 times each day. And if we ignore our children, we are putting our own future at stake. These children will be our leaders tomorrow – we must collaboratively feed them and feed them right. So, we use best practices to try and mitigate the problem, as best as we can. We’d love to serve children at schools as well. All children can afford a meal too. Because our meals are healthy, cooked specially for children who wish to learn. And learning at that age does not need food loaded with hormones, processed flours and preservatives. They need to eat at school like they eat at home.” Said Bhawani Shekhawat, CEO at The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK.

There are more than 3 million children suffering from hunger in the UK. Of them, nearly 800,000 children are in London alone.

To know more about The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK (the name translates to an unlimited pot of food) – please visit

About the Author

Bhawani Singh Shekhawat is the CEO of The Akshaya Patra Foundation in Europe, the world’s largest and perhaps most celebrated school meals program that is currently serving over 1.6 million children every day, amounting to over 2 billion meals.

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