Food for Life was born more than 30 years ago, elderly Indian Swami, known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In 1974 when watching a group of village children fighting with dogs over scraps of food, the Swami became upset and told his students, "No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry... I want you to immediately begin serving food." In response to his plea, members of ISKCON and volunteers around the world were inspired to expand that original effort into a global network of kitchens, cafes, vans, and mobile services, all providing free food, and establishing daily delivery routes in many large cities around the world. Since that day, Food for Life has grown into the world’s largest vegan/vegetarian food relief program.
Food For Life volunteers have provided food for the poor and homeless during several recent disasters.
• 2008 - Food For Life served freshly cooked vegan meals to survivors of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike in the southern United States.
• 2007 - Food For Life volunteers were on the ground to feed many of the hundreds of thousands of survivors who were left homeless after the deadliest cyclone to hit Bangladesh in a decade.
• 2005 - Following the earthquake in Pakistan, Food For Life volunteers worked side-by-side with local military and police personnel, distributing drinking water, food, tents and blankets.
• 2005 - When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with deadly force, Food For Life volunteers were among the first responders, distributing up to 800 freshly cooked meals daily to needy families in Mississippi and Texas.
• 2004 - 2005 A killer Tsunami wreaked incomprehensible devastation in South Asia, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200,000 people. Food For Life volunteers joined the relief effort on the very day of the disaster, providing thousands of meals daily, along with medical care, clothing, and shelter in Sri Lanka and India.
• 1990s - Food For Life volunteers risked their lives in the war-torn countries of Chechnya, Bosnia and Abkhazia, distributing food to needy and frightened civilians.
In total, Food for Life has distributed more than 750 million meals since its inception.
Food for Life has expanded its reach to include, eco projects such as Working Villages International; as well as orphanages such as Gokulam – Bhaktivedanta Children’s Home Gokulam in Sri Lanka, a refuge where needy children receive food, shelter, medical care, education and loving care.