I love cooking and feeding my loved ones. For me cooking is not just a chore, it is a form of love. And I love to express it in the most wonderful way possible. I cook for myself, that is the passion. I cook for others, that is what I desire. Watching the expression on their face when they eat the food I cook is a satisfaction that has no bounds. And since I'm a fussy eater myself, I am very particular about the food I cook too. As there is nothing more sad and demeaning than wasting food. If you cook good food and in the right quantity then it will not go waste. Wasting food breaks my heart and makes me feel angry. My grand mother used to say that once we die, every grain of food we wasted shall question us in heaven. That's not a very good feeling, no matter how silly of false it may be. Knowing that there are a million children out there who beg and crave for food, and yet you are throwing away freshly cooked food is something all of us need to be ashamed about.
At my workplace, they have a huge board put up which mentions the quantity of food wasted the previous day and the number of people it could have fed. Did you know that 10 kgs of food wasted, could have fed 23 people? That's a huge number. Some people take pride in wasting food by ordering hundred items in a restaurant and eating only ten. It does not make sense, but what makes sense and exists country wide is the concept of poverty and hunger. Every day millions of children are forced to choose between hunger and education. They do not have access to even one square meal a day, and they are expected to quit education and work to support their families. Some great person said that 'Poverty is a state of mind', and all I wanted to do was stuff an old tattered shoe in his mouth. You can tolerate anything in this world, but not hunger. That's the worst punishment ever.
Food is a basic right for all living beings. Animals, plants and humans. But when we have to struggle for this basic need, it is a tragedy. Children going hungry is something that is way too hard to imagine or go through. Three meals a day is a luxury for them. These innocent souls cannot bear hunger, yet, they are forced to. A glass of milk is something they probably have never heard of. And people like us who have the means to get decent meals are busy wasting our brinjals, cabbage and bitter gourds just because we do not like the taste of it. Do you see the contrast? It is heart breaking to see a child suffer due to lack of nutrition all due to the lack of good food or any food at all. No matter who runs the government there would be no solution to this problem unless and until we the common people do something about it. Below are a few points that I think can help in eliminating class room hunger.
~ Any food pending in your house, please donate it to the needy. Be it your maid or your security guard. But make sure the food is still fresh and warm. Donating stale food is worse than not donating food at all.
~ Instead of having luxury parties for your birthdays and anniversaries, provide food for a day to a nearby school or orphanage. It would not cost much because the kids there are not looking for gourmet cuisines. Just the basics will bring a smile on their face.
~ Form a committee within your neighborhood, and collect money to sponsor a meal for a nearby school every week. I think a hundred bucks from each house a week will easily suffice for this. Do not tell me that this is too much.
~ Incase food is left over after weddings and other parties, please make sure you donate the food to a school or to the needy. Indians take pride in cooking extra food during weddings to flaunt, but this food is more often than not thrown away. It is better to donate it than flush it.
~ Cook an extra meal and day and serve it to someone who cannot afford it. It will give you a sense of satisfaction.
~ While having birthday parties for kids, invite kids from a nearby school instead of their high profile friends. This might be the only party food that they get to eat.
~ Donating huge amounts of money to sponsor the prashad for a temple is a good thing. But donating the same money to sponsor a day's meal to a school is an even more bigger thing.
~ Think twice before wasting or throwing away food. There is hundreds of children out there who are craving for a bite of food.
All these things do not need a big investment or hard work. All it needs is a soft heart and feelings for the underprivileged. Always remember one thing, your basics are a luxury to someone else. Appreciate what ever has been given to you and share the resources you have been blessed with.
Have a heart, feed a stomach and wipe a tear.