The ISKCON Bhiwandi temple, which is well known for prioritizing Annadaan, or free food distribution to the needy, has made special plans to celebrate the upcoming festival of Sri Krishna Janmashtami, which will be observed on 19th August this year. The temple plans to distribute 1 lakh free meals to the needy in and around the town of Bhiwandi for a period of one week starting from 14th August.
Sri Sudama Das, a resident monk of the temple, said, “We are firmly convinced that the best way to observe a festival is by bringing auspiciousness in the lives of those in need. The founder of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada, wanted that no one within a 10km radius of our temples should go hungry. For this year’s Janmashtami mega annadaan, over 5000 kgs of grains, 2000 kgs of vegetables, 1000 kgs of sugar, 500 ltrs of ghee and 300 kgs of fruits will be used. 1 lakh nutritious meals will be cooked by our devotees distributed in the slums in and around Bhiwandi”.
ISKCON Bhiwandi’s free food distribution activity has been steadily increasing. In 2020, 2.7 lakhs free meals were distributed. This rose to 5.6 lakhs in 2021 and this year they expect to distribute close to 7 lakh plates of food.
As part of its ‘Food For Life’ initiative, ISKCON Bhiwandi has been distributing 1000 free meals every day, since March 2020, to the migrant workers and daily wage labourers in Bhiwandi, who make up 60% of the town’s population. Even during the difficult times of both lockdowns, they daily cooked and distributed free meals to those in need.
ISKCON’s ‘Food For Life’ the world’s largest vegetarian food distribution program, serves millions of meals daily, with projects in over 60 countries.
Apart from food, the temple has also been conducting several online sessions focused on mental health management through meditations and chanting, based on the Bhagavad Gita, to help people spiritually. The courses are designed to enable people to re-connect with themselves and discover peace through meditation and chanting the name of Krishna.