Through Amma’s main ashram, and its branch centers, Embracing the World feeds more than 10 million poor people every year throughout India. We’ve been fighting hunger in this way for more than 20 years. In the first six months after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, we provided more than six million free meals to disaster survivors, as well as more than 185 tons of uncooked rice to help the survivors make ends meet.
We also regularly distribute rice, milk and other uncooked staple foods to remote tribal communities who do not receive aid from any other organization. Along with food distribution, our centers often provide free, specialized medical services. All treatment and medicines are provided free of charge.
Since 1996, we’ve been feeding hungry people across North America. Mother’s Kitchen groups in 50 cities prepare, cook and serve 150,000 meals for the homeless and hungry each year. Some groups also collect and distribute clothing, household items or food staples for communities in need. In the Bay Area, the Amma’s Pantry initiative, launched in 2013, has collected 11,347 lbs of food - the equivalent of 9,078 meals – for distribution to local food kitchens, food pantries, and directly into local communities.
The Amrita Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya provides three nutritious meals a day for 78 needy children. But these kids are not just beneficiaries; they pay it forward every other Sunday when we we open our doors to 230 kids from the neighboring villages for a healthy lunch. Our kids help to serve the food and clean up afterwards. We also work to teach the children about the value of sharing and caring, and the importance of personal hygiene.
Our volunteers have been serving meals to the homeless once each month since 2003. The volunteers prepare the food at home and serve through the Rough Edges program at St. John's Anglican Church in Sydney and through the two community centers in Melbourne. The vegetarian meal consists of rice, a main vegetable dish, fried noodles or pasta, spring rolls or dumplings, salad, fruit, and dessert.
One elderly man movingly reflected that the spirit of hospitality he felt at Mother's Kitchen was for him an expression of real worship, and another commented that while he did not usually like vegetarian food, the food at Mother's Kitchen was delicious. Sue, a volunteer from Sydney reflected, "Actually, we're not just feeding them food, we're feeding them love and kindness, which is exactly what Amma does."
From our center outside Granollers, our volunteers go out to area supermarkets to collect donations of staple foods such as vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, milk and yogurt. They then pay house calls to more than 200 families in need, leaving a care package with each family. They’ve been doing this every week since 2009. These care packages help these families make it through the week in a time of severe economic hardship nationwide.
Since 2010, our volunteers in France have been growing organic food and distributing it to area food banks that serve the hungry. In providing healthy, organic and fresh products for homeless and hungry people, they feel fulfilled. They also enjoy getting their hands dirty and deepening their connection with nature. They produce close to a ton of organic produce each year.
Our volunteers have been feeding the homeless in Costa Rica since 2007. The volunteers head into the La Carpio slum armed with 200 plates of delicious vegetarian soup, bread, juice and a dessert.
The volunteers purchase the food themselves and prepare the food by hand. They reach out to people struggling with alcohol- and drug addiction, who often tell them that not only have they not eaten all week, they don’t remember anyone showing them that much love and care.
The volunteers say they feel honored and blessed for being able to serve in this way. They also usually bring along student volunteers who come from more privileged backgrounds, in order to help them understand the value of giving and of reaching out to those in need.
Our volunteers in Cancun just got started feeding the poor in August 2013. But that’s because they’ve been busy building a special kitchen just for this purpose. In their first-ever meal service, they served food to 80 people from a neighboring community. Hearing the stories of the people who came to receive a square meal, they were inspired to find that they were serving people who were hard at work to improve their own lives and the lives of their entire community. It’s our hope that the warm food they received from our volunteers gives them just a little bit more strength to carry on in their fight against poverty. The plan is to start serving 200 people every month.
In the hill stations of Kerala, India, indigenous tribal people live in extreme poverty. Inaccessible by road, they can only be reached by a 90-minute hike through the forest. Our volunteers make the trek every month to provide staple foods and warm clothes to 100 different families who do not receive aid from any other organization.
We've been working to improve the lives of slum dwellers and the homeless population in Pune and Mumbai since 1996. In addition to building new apartments for 1600 slum dwelling families and offering in-class tutoring and school supplies for underaprivileged children, we've been offering free food and medicines for Mumbai's poor every Sunday for 17 years.