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-The Akshaya Patra Foundation along with nine leading corporates and Government of India pledge for a Nourished India, Educated India! –

– Aims to serve 5 billion mid-day meals by 2020-

Mumbai, June 7, 2017 – Following its corporate launch in Delhi on World Hunger Day, the Akshaya Patra Foundation, in illuminated presence of Shri Shankar Mahadevan (composer and playback singer), Shri Vivek Oberoi (Indian actor) and Shri Sanjeev Kapoor (Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur) launched Feed the Future Now in Mumbai on Wednesday at PVR, Juhu Dynamix Mall. Feed the Future Now is a national movement to raise awareness about importance of nourishment amongst children and its impetus to education. This movement aims to serve 5 billion meals to children across India by 2020 with a view to create a ‘Poshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat.’

image001Talking to the media about the movement, The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shridhar Venkat said, “We are very thankful to all our partners especially the Government of India (GoI) who have come together today to raise awareness about the growing need to ensure children are well nourished at the age of 0 – 12 years and join us in our mission to serve 5 billion meals by 2020. Food is not charity. Food is life. Setting a child on a proper course with good daily nutrition and the ability to attend and succeed in school is our collective social responsibility and one which reaps unlimited rewards as new generations grow and thrive.”

Lending his voice to the campaign, Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Composer and Playback Singer, also a goodwill ambassador for the foundation, said, “The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of a kind institution in the world and is doing great service for the nation. Malnutrition is one of those issues that requires urgent attention. The emphasis should not be on feeding just food, but providing a nutritious meal. I implore more friends from the fraternity to join hands with movement and help us make our country a Poshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat.”

Shri Vivek Oberoi, renowned Indian actor, shared his thoughts about the cause with the audience. He said, “I am very excited to be here today. The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s work towards eradicating malnutrition is not only relevant for our country but extremely inspiring. We, as a country have had so many achievements at the global platform but hidden hunger still remains an obstacle to sustaining education and achieving one’s full potential.  Feed the Future Now aims to combat this issue and I am glad to pledge support to its mission of nourishing the future of India so that kids get a holistic upbringing, just like we all did. Congratulations to all the partners for a job well done. I urge each one of you – to come together in making 5 billion meals by 2020 possible.”

Reputed Indian actress and model, Ms. Sonali Bendre talking about the issue of malnutrition said, ““I am honored to be part of the ‘Feed the Future Now’ movement, which would give all of us a chance to make a difference to the lives of those in need. I’d also like to congratulate the Akshaya Patra Foundation for taking on an initiative like this and I’m very happy to lend my support to the amazing work that they are doing.”

Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrity Chef and entrepreneur said, “I am happy to associate with The Akshaya Patra Foundation yet again on the launch of their seminal movement ‘Feed The Future Now’ after a successful Boston Benefit Gala fundraiser held in California in May this year. Akshaya Patra is all about giving nutritious food to children. My own journey of cooking food for my family and friends and presenting it to millions of viewers on television is in absolute sync with the Foundation’s – the joy of giving is much more than the joy of receiving. We, especially our strong chef community across the globe, must all strive to make nutrition our agenda to make Feed the Future Now a mass movement and commit to the cause wholeheartedly.

Nine top corporates have joined the movement – GSK Consumer Healthcare, Nestlé, PepsiCo India, PVR Nest, Reliance Fresh, Facebook, The LaLiT, Reliance Broadcast Networks Ltd. & Viacom 18 along with the support of Government of India.

Facilitating screening of the movement video across 100 outlets nationally, Ms. Deepa Menon, Senior Vice President (Corporate Communications & CSR), PVR Ltd, said, “Nutrition and development are interlinked. Therefore, being a socially sensitive organisation, PVR is supporting ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative through the use of its physical infrastructure. The initiative is also in sync with the ethos of PVR Nest, which concentrates its efforts towards mainstreaming underprivileged children and restoring confidence among them by investing on education, health & nutrition, skill development and employability through our ‘Childscapes’ program.”

Also present at the launch, Mr. Damodar Mall, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Fresh said, “We are pleased to be ground partners for the ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. In our stores and on our communication platforms, we will take the message of this movement, to millions of our customers. Jointly with our customers, we are happy to help ensure hunger does not come in the way of good education!”

Speaking about the need for addressing classroom hunger through media and mass communication, Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 said: “According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics 2016 report, every year 47 million Indian children drop out of schools by the time they reach 10th standard. There has been direct correlation between dropping out of schools and classroom hunger. At Viacom18 we believe that education is the key to unlock India’s true potential and it is the future generation that needs to be equipped and nurtured today. We are delighted to partner with the Akshaya Patra Foundation for the ‘Feed the Future’ movement.”

Based on three pillars – Awareness, Nutrition and Education, the campaign will create a rallying call-to-action and promote policy advocacy as well as behavioral change on the twin issues of nutrition and education.

The snacks at the launch were courtesy The Lalit, hospitality partner of Feed the Future Now.