Food with Dignity also known as ‘Mahavirji ki Thali’ is an initiative started and managed by the people associated with two NGOs named ‘Humari Udaan’ and ‘ACT’.
This initiative aims at providing quality food to unprivileged and needy people at just Rs 10. The program ‘Food with Dignity’ has been running for more than 6 months in Maya Enclave, New Delhi. The program strives to serve good quality food to the poor from Monday to Saturday near the Maya Enclave bus stand.
FOOD WITH DIGNITY – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
India Eat Mania got the chance to get in touch with Mr. Sanjay Dodrajka who is a Chartered Accountant by profession and one of the founders of NGO Humari Udaan and he told us how it all started.
“I once heard about Ram-roti in Western India wherein people feed the poor free on special occasions like birthdays and death anniversaries. Some time back I saw the video on Dadi-ki-Rasoi on WhatsApp which fuelled my desire to do something for the economically weaker sections. The final thrust came when I saw the video on some food program being run in Shimla. Now I had this burning desire inside me. I started looking out for space to prepare the food and also a Manager (who may be a retired person ) who would manage the day to day affairs. This is how we started off MAHAVIRJI KI THALI also known as ‘Food with Dignity’. Now slowly volunteers have joined us and have carried the program to a new height. Their sheer dedication towards this is unbelievable.”
Since its opening, Food with Dignity has served thousands of people from every class. Different varieties of food are served on each day of the week and all are priced for Rs 10 only. “We have completed six months of the program on 16 May. The food is prepared in hygienic conditions and served piping hot. We ensure that new items are prepared every day e.g. Rice-Rajma, Rice-Chhole, Rice-Curry, Rice-Lobia, Rice-Dal, and Rice-black chana. Green chili and pickle are also provided,” he added.
Food with Dignity caters to more than 130 people each day, which is simply amazing. “Daily 130-140 plates of food are distributed at Maya Enclave Main Gate on Mayapuri Road from 12:30 pm till food lasts.” It’s unbelievable how they manage to serve food to so many people at just Rs 10 in this time when the cost of raw material is so high.
Not just the quality of the food but the hygiene of the kitchen and stall is kept at scrutiny by the volunteers of this program. On this, Mr. Sanjay said, “Even at the food distribution point lot of attention is paid to cleanliness. Daily the road is swept a couple of hours before the food stall is set up. A dustbin is setup before the start of distribution of food. During the distribution of food, people are requested to throw empty plates into the dustbin only. Post distribution, a sweeper comes and clears the area and empties the dustbin.”
We were more surprised to hear that apart from the chef and autorickshaw driver, no one is paid a penny to be an active part of this initiative. Totally astounding! Out of curiosity, we asked the reason why are they taking 10 rs from the needy people than giving away food for free. “Food is distributed at Rs 10 per plate. The reason behind Rs 10 is to make the person eating the food proud that he has bought the food and not begged. Also, wastage is minimized when someone spends money to buy it as compared to free distribution,” he explained. That what the word ‘dignity’ represent in their name.
Besides investing their time and money to feed the needy, their NGO also works for many other noble causes. India Eat Mania was very impressed by the contribution of the people of Humari Udaan and ACT and decided to do a tour at the venue of Food with Dignity to get the experience of tasting their wonderful meal.
We did a short journey of their kitchen where the food is cooked, joined their team of volunteers to serve the food, asked opinion of the people who come at the stall daily, about the food and then finally had a bite of their tasty meal.
We have prepared a video for you so that you can watch how this program started and how are they managing it so brilliantly.
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