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Free Meals Program
Relatives of patients belonging to poor communities often stay in the vicinity of the hospital. They also end up sleeping on the pavements. Quite a few of them can not afford to buy food. It is also not uncommon to see folks cooking on the pavements.
Observing the plight of those unfortunate the Sivananda Society built a two-floor building next to Gandhi Hospital to offer shelter to about two hundred persons. Several alumni visited this facility during GMC Diamond Jubilee celebrations and decided to offer at least one meal a day to the residents of the shelter. GMCGA offered to support 75% of the costs if Seva Bharathi contributed 25%.
This program initially provided 200 meals at lunchtime catered by Hare Krishna Society and managed by Seva Bharthi. The total cost for this program was about $30,000 and GMCGA contributed approximately $22,000. To support the program ten alumni pledged to donate $1000 per year for ten years beginning in 2015. By early January 2020, the residents were provided with three meals a day. After four years of operation, the program had to be discontinued in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. A few months ago, the shelter was demolished by the state government to make space for the construction of a maternity and pediatric wing. We anticipate having a new structure in the near future and expect to resume the program.
Our aim is to collect a corpus fund of about $300,000 so that the interest generated can run this program for several years. One of the alumni made a generous contribution and also pledged to match donations for this project from new donors up to $50000. He has already contributed $10,000 in matching funds. So any donations, other than from the ten who pledged to contribute for ten years, additional donations will be matched. Presently we have $108,000 set aside in the corpus fund for the meals program.