by Fr. Martin Peter Raja, sss
India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades. However, despite phenomenal industrial and economic growth and while India produces sufficient food to feed its population, it is unable to provide access to food to a large number of people, especially women and children. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, 190.7 million people (14.5%) are undernourished in India. On the other hand, it is estimated that nearly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted.
Food Bank is the only solution for this current perennial problem of food in India. A Food Bank is a not-for-profit distribution of food service that serves the community. It receives the donated food products including grains and packaged food as well as funds for sponsored mid-day meals or snacks and makes it available to people who are hungry or lack nutritional food.
We the religious of the Blessed Sacrament Community at Gaunsvaddo, Goa, India (Fr. Utharia Nathan sss and Fr. Martin sss) started a food banking system in our parish and feel delighted to be part of this Food Banking Network of India. The food bank gathers remaining food from volunteering individuals, restaurants, after their parties to help hungry families. The food would be collected and stored in a refrigerator carefully and distributed to the poor and the needy on the following day. This is also a good way of avoiding wastages of food at home and parties.
The vision of India Food Banking Network is “To eliminate hunger in India by 2030”. By being part of this Food Banking network, we the SSS also make all efforts to eradicate the hunger in the society in which we live. Our Rule of Life 3, says “Following in the footsteps of Father Eymard, our mission is to respond to the hungers of the human family”. This initiative of ours directly responds to the physical hungers of humanity.
We thank God for using us as instruments to reach out to the poorest of the poor, hungry and those in need through the food bank. It's our commitment through Agape love of the Eucharist, without expecting nothing in return.
May the vision of Jesus, Our Founder St. Peter Julian Eymard and India Food Banking Network come true in India!