Akshaya Patra raises $2 million at N.J. gala for school children in India

The Akshaya Patra USA Foundation team poses for a photo at the Newark, NJ gala held November 18, 2022, where $2 million was raised to support the mid-day meal program at Indian schools. Photo: Akshaya Patra

The Akshaya Patra Foundation USA’s Tri-state Volunteer Chapter raised more than $2 million at its 2022 Gratitude Gala on November 18.  The event, held at Newark Airport Marriott, was attended by over 400 business, non-profit and philanthropic community leaders and professionals.

From left, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, Sridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra India, and Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, Akshaya Patra Foundation USA board member and Tri-state Chapter chair, and Dr. Anand Kulkarni. Photo: ITV Gold

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest NGO-run school meal program and serves more than 2 million school children in over 20,000 government schools from 65 kitchen facilities in 14 states and 2 union territories across India.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation USA has Volunteer Chapters in cities across the United States that holds fundraising and awareness events for the organization.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, advisor to Akshaya Patra, center, with Sridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra India, left, at the Nov. 18, 2022, Gratitude Gala in Newark, NJ, making the love sign with their hands to support the mission of the non-profit. Photo: ITV Gold

Dr Rachana Kulkarni, Board Member of Akshaya Patra USA and Chapter Chair for the Akshaya Patra Tri State Chapter shared with the audience the impact of Akshaya Patra’s mission.

‘No child in India should be deprived of education because of hunger’ is a powerful weapon for the children of the underprivileged society to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families, Kulkarni is quoted saying in a press release.

The mid day meal program supported by Akshaya Patra means the kids and their parents don’t have to choose between food & education – they are guaranteed both, she added.

The program included a panel discussion moderated by Abhishek Mishra in which author and businesswoman Mitzi Perdue, prominent businessman & Entrepreneur Ash Ashutosh, and Milind Pant, CEO of Amway Global participated. The panel discussed the impact of education on various aspects of life and businesses and the need for thoughtful philanthropy and the role of Akshaya Patra in that space.

From left, Milind Pant, CEO of Amway Global, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Venkat Sridhar, Akshaya Patra India CEO, at the Nov. 18, 2022, Gratitude Gala of Akshaya Patra Foundation, held in NYC.
Photo: ITV Global
Dr. Sudha Parikh speaking to ITV Gold about Akshaya Patra and its mission, with Dr. Sudhir Parikh, advisor to the organization and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media. Photo: ITV Gold

Padma Shri recipient Dr Sudhir Parikh, who serves on the Advisory Board of the Tri State chapter praised the mission of Akshaya Patra to combat classroom hunger and promised his ongoing support for the “noble” cause.

Vikas Nangia was the Emcee for the gala that also featured entertainment by Bollywood and Hollywood singer Aditya Rao and Broadway singer and actress Suri Marrero. Classically trained in Carnatic vocals since childhood, Aditya’s performance infused western style with eastern soul. Suri Marrero made her Broadway debut at the age of eight as Young Nala in Lion King and Young Elsa in Frozen. “Suri’s singing left the audience completely spellbound,” organizers said.

Shridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra India speaking during the Nov. 18, 2022, Gratitude Gala of the organization’s Tri-state chapter in Newark, NJ. Photo: ITV Gold

“We are very grateful to the Tri-State community for their incredible generosity. The funds raised will help Akshaya Patra continue its mission of unlimited food for education,” said Shridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra India.

Akshaya Patra USA is the U.S. branch of Akshaya Patra and raises funds and awareness in America for the school meal program in India.

For more information about Akshaya Patra please visit akshayaptrausa.org



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