We find the right location, secure the right partners, and create a firm timeline to ensure a successful project with maximum results. Our goal is to effectively end hunger in Calcutta.
Steps to Success
Choosing the location
Our food projects begin as Emergency Relief projects in slums and villages in desperate need of food. We target areas where government aid is not available.
Securing the right partners
We select partners according to their relationship with the target community. They must share in our vision and possess a proven track record of success.
Applying best practices
Food is procured from a standard quality vendor and cooked in hygienic conditions by our partners on AG property. In all our years of food service, we’ve never received a report of food poisoning. Our cooks, drivers, and administrators are paid a fair wage, as set by the Indian government. Families learn about the feeding stations through ads and promotional materials. We visit interested households to determine their economical state and number of family members. Families that qualify receive a card that entitles them to a set amount of food when presented at a feeding line.
Determining the cost
Project costs are determined through monthly audits reviewed by a board of committee members. We keep costs low by purchase food at wholesale from local vendors. Approximate cost percentages are as follows: Food: 42%, Cooking Costs: 25%, Salaries: 19%; Administration: 12%; Transportation: 2%.
Following a timeline
The daily timeline for a feeding project generally runs as follows:
10 PM–5 AM – Food is prepared by 14 hired workers.
5.30 AM – Food is delivered by van to the various feeding stations.
6 AM–8AM – Food is served to the local poor, with the exception of the feeding station in downtown Calcutta, which begins service at noon.
Working with local authorities
The government issues permission for each food projects while local civil authorities provide the stations and licenses necessary to distribute the food. A government-issued food security bill (similar to food stamps or welfare) helps subsidize food. We do not receive money from this bill, but we help the local poor understand the laws and know where to turn for additional relief.
It is important to us that the majority of funds for the food projects originate within India. Calcutta Mercy owns a large 10-story office building in Calcutta that we lease to local businesses. A portion of the rental revenue subsidizes the cost of the food projects. Additionally, we incite the local community and local business to give and volunteer on behalf of the hungry.
Monitoring and evaluating
Seven supervisors monitor our feeding stations. A sign in sheet at each station keeps a record of who in the community is attending. We follow up with families who stop attending. In cases where families no longer require the relief, we admit new families in their place.
Monthly audits help us determine the success of each project. Volunteers are always welcome to come with us to our food projects to see for themselves the impact it is having on thousands of families.