Homeless go hungry at shelters in Delhi after supply hit by funds crunch 

The foundation said it was undertaking the initiative through its three centralised kitchens in the national capital since July 2021 and that has served more than five million meals till date.
Image used for representational purpose. Homeless people sleeping on the redeveloped Chandni Chowk stretch | express
Image used for representational purpose. Homeless people sleeping on the redeveloped Chandni Chowk stretch | express

NEW DELHI: Hundreds of homeless people living in homeless shelters in Delhi are now being forced to go hungry after the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the NGO tasked with providing food to these shelters, temporarily discontinued the service citing a shortage of funds.

Officials said they would look for alternative arrangements to redress the problem. Earlier, the Akshaya Patra Foundation issued a statement saying it has decided to temporarily discontinue the night shelter feeding initiative being undertaken in association with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board in the NCT of Delhi.

The foundation said it was undertaking the initiative through its three centralised kitchens in the national capital since July 2021 and that has served more than five million meals till date. These meals were served in the form of a three-item menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to homeless people, including families, senior citizens, widows, individuals battling addiction and those in need of medical care, it said in the statement.

The initiative was discontinued on April 26. Delhi has 197 shelter homes that house over 17,000 inmates. The Akshaya Patra Foundation used to provide 15,000 meals daily in 180 shelter homes. Sunil Kumar Aledia, who has been working for Delhi’s homeless people for 23 years, said they are facing a tough time finding food now. “They were getting three meals a day -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- but now, that has stopped. They will have to wait for food since the shelter homes are trying to make alternative arrangements,” he said. 

The government claimed the Delhi High Court has backed its free meal project and directed the continuation of the scheme observing it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that every person had access to food.

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