Thursday, July 29, 2010


Associating religion with food is historical and Christian Missionaries in many countries are in the forefront in this area of human protection. Though critics may be cut up with the religious label flaunted by such relief organizations, many a time assistance from these organizations can make a difference between perennial hunger and decent life. Food bank concept increasingly being promoted by relief organizations floated by charitable Christian missionaries is increasingly asserting its effectiveness through such banks organizing supplies from donors and delivering to identified recipients. Forcible religious conversion to Christianity by such organizations exploiting the poverty of people is a serious accusation raised against them by critics though there is no evidence regarding such incidences on a massive scale in countries like India where a democratically responsible government exists. USAID with its food assistance program had used christian charities to channel its contributions to the beneficiaries with GOI permission and good storage and distribution net work has been established in the country. The idea to utilize this infrastructure for creating a food bank that will depend mostly on donations is indeed welcome.

"One of the most exciting new partnerships with the potential to accelerate action towards operation is working with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) CRS has been running a USAID food distribution program in India for more than 50 years. They have built an infrastructure of 60 warehouses that supply a second tier of smaller warehouses and more than 2,000 feeding programs. This USAID program is coming to an end this year, leaving CRS with the dilemma of what to do with their existing infrastructure and the valuable services it delivers to so many people in the nine Indian states where it operates. The emerging food bank system in India provides a timely answer to that question."

How far CRS will be able to garner support for the proposed food bank depends on its success in convincing that the program is not an extension of the promotion of its religion and support from rich donors from all religions and also from different parts of world only can sustain the activity benefiting the poor and the downtrodden. A transparent program open to audit by any one having reservation about the organization and associating a wide spectrum of respectable citizens irrespective of their religious affiliation can be an effective alternative to the cash guzzling government funded applied nutrition programs, rampant with corruption and mismanagement at every level.


No comments: