LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday served three billionth meal to an underprivileged kid at a function in Mathura's Vrindavan apart from serving the food to many other students as part of mid-day meal project.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ram Naik, who helped him serve the children.
The function was organised by a Bengaluru-based not-for-profit organisation, Akshaya Patra, that works with the government on mid-day meal schemes.
Funded by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Akshaya Patra has a state-of-the-art kitchen in Vrindavan.
The PM also unveiled a ceremonial plaque to mark the serving at Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir campus in the holy city. He addressed a gathering later, in which he lauded the organisation Akshay Patra for its efforts to provide food to the underprivileged children.
"Everyone involved in Akshay Patra, ranging from cooks to servers, are helping the country," he said. The PM added that if the government could succeed in delivering the nutrition campaign to every mother, every child, many lives would be saved.
"Donation given to deserving people without thinking is 'satvik daan' (pure charity), Akshaya Patra is doing 'satvik daan'," said the PM .
He was reminded of how the first thali through Akshay Patra was served by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and "I feel fortunate to serve the third billionth thali today," Modi said. The PM even spoon-fed a few children and blessed them.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also joined him in serving food. Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, BJP's Mathura lawmaker Hema Malini also joined the PM at the event.
From serving just 1,500 children in the beginning, the NGO is now catering to over 17 lakh children across the country thus contributing to the growth of the country.
In its 19-year journey, Akshaya Patra foundation has served mid-day meals to 1.76 million children in twelve states covering 14,702 schools. In 2016, Akshaya Patra commemorated the serving of 2 billion cumulative meals in the presence of the then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme is considered to be the largest of its kind programme in the world. The program aims to boost enrolment, attendance, and retention in schools and to improve the health profile of children in the age group of 6-14 years.