Food for Life helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

Thousands of people were fed with hot meals (Prasadam)– Vegetarian food! (Report from November 20-30, 2013) About 8,200 plates were served in some barangays in Tacloban from November 15 to November 20 headed by the Nagar Sankirtan Party-Balarama Dasa. Simultenously, we have served 2,730 plates from November 18-29 in Manila headed by our Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Food for Life team- Makanlal Dasa & our Chef Gokula Chandra Dasa. In Cebu, 4,200 plates of hot meals were served from November 23-30 in cooperation of our new Food for life coordinators, volunteers and Monterey School headed by HG Jayasri Devi Dasi and Gopal Krishna Dasa. We distributed prasadam along with the chanting of the Holy names-some days with our first Filipino sanyas- His Holiness Bhakti Anugra Janardana Swami. A total of 15,130 plates were served for the past 13 days. Our Food for Life team have reached Bantayan Island yesterday afternoon. Six hours from Cebu City including 1 hour barge travel. The municipal officials were very supportive with our Hare Krishna Food for life team, very eager and enthusiastically provide our needs for our feeding mission. They were very happy when they heard that we are coming to help them especially we are going to distribute cooked food for the people who are in need of such basic necessity, very anxious to hear and participate with the chanting of the Holy names. They have started 2 times serving of hot meals today. So many people were starving and rushing to grab the food---Baladeva Dasa reported (Head of the Team). Our chef-Rajendra Dasa and all his assistant cooks were tirelessly working day and night preparing the food and distributing to people. Obviously, such a feeling of tiredness and giving up comes out in their mouth but after serving and seeing the BIG smile of people, young and Old-they simply say at the end “I felt relief because of their bright faces giving them a spark of hope and ready to cook for more and more people (with smile). Our only problem is running out of supply of raw materials and vegetables to cook. The costs of goods are very high. Transportation is very difficult without our own vehicle. For the past 13 days, we have experienced so many things which we haven’t experience in our entire life. Seeing people who have lost their loved ones, who lost their homes, money, who lost everything and hankering to have even water to drink-feeling of such emotion that brings tears in our eyes, more hope and determination to go on and try to reach out for more people. Feeding them in just one time is not even enough. Yes they do receive relief goods but how to cook the food and how to have shelter is another problem. Most people we have met expressed their overwhelming happiness as they receive the cooked foods. With limited amount of cooked food we bring in to different places almost every day is not even enough to fill the stomach of all people in each barangay so we try to prepare heavy meals like rice and viand (mixed vegetable with soya or white beans). In Northern Cebu, there are more than eight barangays were first and second hardest hit by the typhoon Yolanda-Haiyan. Bantayan island, Malapasqua and Maya are the worst places experienced 98% damaged. Bantayan Island alone has more than 30,000 households who have lost their homes. In Manila, 18,000 evacuees were transferred from Tacloban for the past 2 weeks and most of them were settled temporarily in different evacuation centers or tent cities in Mandaluyong, Taguig, Pasay and Cavite. Our Food for Life teams prioritizes to feed people in the remote places who don’t receive support even from the government. Most of this people who were not ready to leave their places and people who don’t have choice of living aside that place. The government and other NGO are trying to maintain and feed the people in the evacuations center hence they have schedule of feeding. Another team are getting ready to distribute hot meals (prasadam) in Tacloban next week and other nearby Cities.

Food for Life Feeds Typhoon Ondoy Victims

ISKCON’s Food For Life program in the Philippines is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, which has left more than 300 people dead and nearly 400,000 affected.
The tropical storm, which hit the Northern Luzon region of the Philippines on Saturday September 26, caused some of the worst floods the country has ever seen.

ISKCON’s Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Mandir in Makati City was not spared, with water levels reaching the pictures of Vaishnava gurus on Radha-Madhava’s altar. Devotees sprung to action immediately, beginning to clean the temple and restore order even before their 4am morning worship.

Once they had finished, their first step was to reach out to Typhoon Ondoy’s many victims.

Between September 26th and October 13th, the Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava Food For Life team—numbering only fifteen full-time staff and less than ten volunteers—visited nineteen locations and fed hot vegetarian meals to 8,800 people. They also distributed other necessities such as clothes, medicine, blankets, and water.

Their efforts where carried out in coordination with the Mayor of Marikina, who was grateful for the devotees’ help and arranged for them to use the city’s evacuation center facilities.

Victims of the flood were also grateful. Many expressed their deep appreciation for the Food For Life Team’s tireless work in difficult conditions with tears in their eyes. Some joined in the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, and danced with the devotees.

“We felt sad to see so many of our fellow countrymen suffering,” says Food For Life Director Radha-Lila Dasi. “But now as we see more and more people benefited by prasadam distribution, we feel very happy and satisfied.”

But now is not the time to rest on any laurels. With funds running out, Food For Life are asking for assistance to continue helping the thousands of people still hungry, homeless and penniless.

“Both monetary donations and items such as clothes, blankets, and raw foods like rice, milk, or vegetarian noodles are very much appreciated,” Radha-Lila says. “We also need volunteers for cooking and distribution. So please help in any way you can.”

For more information, or to donate to Food For Life’s Typhoon Ondoy efforts, please contact ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Madhava Food For Life at (+632) 782-8236, Bhaktin Parijata at 896-3357, or Radha Lila Dasi at 890-1947. You can also email[email protected].

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