Calcutta (Agenzia Fides) - The Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary in the Archdiocese of Calcutta has launched the "Food for All" initiative with the support of the AnnBandhu foundation, a local non-governmental organization. As Fides learned, the program was launched by distributing 140 meals to the poor in the area, regardless of creed, culture or language. The initiative plans to provide a nutritious meal (worth 6.00 Indian rupees) six days a week to poor people. Meals are prepared in a community kitchen run by the AnnBandhu Foundation and distributed to feeding centers under the motto "Food for All". Among the organizations involved, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, popularly known in the parish as the "Sisters of Bethany", numerous parishioners and people of good will who reside in the vicinity of the Cathedral also contribute to the initiative. Conceived and launched by Father Franklin Menezes, parish priest of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary, the food aid program for the needy has favorably affected the civil authorities of the city: Mahesh Kumar Sharma, a local councilor, appreciated the initiative as "a ministry of God to feed the poor".
The local Church thus wanted to give a small sign to contribute to the food security for all, that is, the possibility that each person has the certainty of being able to feed himself every day, according to his needs, and not suffer from hunger. The Indian faithful are looking at the situation in the country with concern: according to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021, India has dropped to position 101 out of 116 countries. From the 94th position it held in 2020, it has lost 7 positions and is now behind other countries in the subcontinent such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The report on the Global Hunger Index, jointly prepared by the Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and the German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe, describes the level of hunger in India as "alarming".
According to the FAO report on hunger "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World", 2020, 189 million people in India, representing 14% of the population, are undernourished. As a consequence of food insecurity, the document points out, 51% of women of reproductive age suffer from anemia and 35% of children under the age of five in India are stunted. In addition, Covid-19 has worsened the situation. In October 2021, on the occasion of World Food Day (October 16), various communities of the Catholic Church in India raised the idea of convening a special "Food Summit", in which the Church is asked to play a more active role in ensuring food for all. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2022)