Hare Krishna Food for Life Programme
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is doing its part to combat world hunger by providing free meals to the needy. In the last two decades, ISKCON’s “Hare Krishna Food for Life” programme has served over 100 million hot, nutritious vegetarian meals throughout America, Asia, Africa, Australasia, Pacific and Europe.
The groundwork for the Food for Life programme started in 1966 when Srila Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON, began the Krishna’s famous Sunday feast at ISKCON’s fledging Second Avenue temple in New York. The elderly Srila Prabhupada personally prepared sumptuous (sanctified vegetarian food first offered to Lord Krishna). Word of this delicious, free 10 course meal spread quickly, and the feasts were soon attended by 300-400 people.
As ISKCON expanded, the Sunday Feast became a weekly event in major cities worldwide. Srila Prabhupada often referred to the Hare Krishna’s movement as the kitchen religion”, because whenever as ISKCON temple was built, prasadam feasts would also take place.
In 1974, in accordance with Srila Prabhupada’s instruction that “No one within ten miles of our temples should go hungry,” ISKCON expanded its vision of prasadam distribution and developed the Hare Krishna Food for Life programme to distribute food to less fortunate. Special vehicles were purchased and daily delivery routes to low income areas began in many cities. Today, the programme distributes upwards of 30,000 free, hot vegetarian meals per day to needy people in more than 50 countries.
Fiji Food for Life Programme:
After the wrath of Cyclone Kina in 1992, torrential rains poured continuously over the whole of Fiji, causing the biggest flood in its history. Major bridges were swept away, homes and shops were under water for days, crops destroyed and farming land was rendered unusable. Then years later in 2009 the second most biggest natural disaster of heavy down pours claiming 16 lives and destroying many of Fiji’s infrastructure left people in hunger for days while they sat on roofs waiting for help from the flood waters rising as the rain continued to pour without stop for a week. The extreme cold and hunger made them sick, weak and helpless. During all this calamities ISKCON’s food for Life programme had a very active role and paired with National stakeholders and Disaster action group to distribute tens of thousands of hot nutritious meals daily until situation was slowly calm. Hare Krishna Youth forum went to the extent of providing food rations, clothing and school supplies collected through radio appeal to help people in despair due to the flooding.
It is not only during natural calamities that ISKCON food for Life programme attracts attention from the locals here, in fact the two big temples in both the cities Suva and Lautoka freely distribute full course vegetarian meals for lunch at their temples every Sunday regardless of race, religion and belief. During special occasions like Krishna Janamastami, Gaura Purnima, Rama Navami, Balaram Appearance and many more all temples and centers distribute free full course meals to visitors to the temples or centers regardless of numbers. Other places where free Sunday meals are provided for lunch include Labasa, Sigatoka, Tavua, Rakiraki, Taveuni and Nausori.
Suva Temples Food for Life Programme:
During any natural disasters such as flooding and hurricanes as common ones in Fiji, members of ISKCON Suva mainly from the Suva temple congregation unite and gather donations from radio appeals, house to house collection in unaffected areas, temple appeals during Sunday feasts and personal fund raising. The donations collected both in monetary terms or groceries are utilized to cook vegetarian healthy meals and offered to the deities and then freely distributed to hunger stricken flood and hurricane victims. In extreme cases where general public also donate clothes and other household usable are also distributed alongside prasadam to the flood victims.
During the most recent flooding in Fiji during which hundreds of people completely lost all their belongings, houses and crops, many lost lives, some had escaped death; some had to stay on isolated areas for days fearing the heavy down pours and flooding and many surviving worst hunger and extreme sanitation problems for weeks. It was during this time when ISKCON Suva with the assistance from military and through media reached almost every person not attended by any other humanitarian assistance team
Weekly Food Distribution
The Radhagolokabihari temple since its opening in September 2004 till date has continuously provided full course lunch meals for free to all guests attending the temple during Sunday feasts. The menus included dhal, rice, chapattis, and variety of subjis, a sweet preparation and non alcoholic drinks such as fruit juice. On an average 200-300 guests and devotees attend Sunday love feasts every week.
During Harinaams organized by the temple harinaam team free sweets such halwa barfis are often distributed however if harinaams are organized for special occasions or to mark festivals free food is also distributed.
Suva temple celebrates almost 100 festivals per year and during all these festivals meals are provided free to all the guests. Some of these festivals such as Krishna Janamastami, Rama Navami and Gaura Purnima attract more than 2000 guests. Once again on all festivals hot, nutritious and full course meals are served as prasadam.
Just recently members from the temple including the most prominent devotees such as HG Vasudeva Prabhu and HG Bhagwati Mataji have been joining other devotes for food distribution that have been going to places like: Suva Prison, Suva Mental Hospital and Suva Old peoples Home.
FOR YOUR GIFT OF LOVE
Sri Sri Radha Golokabihari Temple is maintained by voluntary donations from the community. Please give generously so that the activities of the temple can be continued and enhanced.Please find below some of the many special projects and gift programmes. Any donation small or large, will be appreciated and put to proper use
Annadan Offering food to the Lord
4.00 am Balya Bhoga $25.00
6.55am Pratar Bhoga $75.00
12 noon Raja Bhoga $120.00
4.15 pm Vaikalika Bhoga $45.00
6.00 pm Sandhya Bhoga $75.00
Food for Life
Public Food Distribution
Sunday Love Feasts $20 – $500
Donation of Scripture
Book distribution to institutions
Schools, hospitals, libraries. $3-$600
Major Festivals $700