Geetika Peddada

Approximately 195 million undernourished individuals reside in India, 47 million of which are children. It’s hard to miss this pressing issue, from frequent family visits to news articles and media coverage.

These conditions have only since been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose second wave in India rendered countless families unemployed. Many have tragically lost their sole breadwinners and it has never been quite so important to focus all efforts on alleviating this issue.

My family has supported Akshaya Patra for many years now, an advocate for how the organization simultaneously tackles both the issues of education and hunger. When the pandemic hit, I had decided to take what they had previously done for the organization one step further by actively campaigning online. 

I had initially started fundraising on Facebook as part of their Giving Tuesday campaign, in which the company would match a few donations made on that day. While I raised a fair bit of money and managed to receive a Facebook match, I wanted to take my campaign a step further, creating an official campaign on the Akshaya Patra website with an initial goal of $3,000. 

Unable to rely on typical fundraising events due to the pandemic and safety guidelines, I took my campaign online, making weekly phone calls to family, friends, and parents’ coworkers to receive donations. Once it was safe, I also went door-to-door, not only to obtain donations but to also spread awareness on this issue.

All of the time I had invested into this campaign manifested itself, and combining the donations received on the Akshaya Patra website with what I had fundraised on Facebook, I exceeded my goal, raising $5,008. It was only through the generosity of all those who donated that I was able to receive such an amount and I am eternally grateful to everyone who participated in this campaign. 

Hunger is still an ever constant in the world, and while I am proud of my efforts, I know that there can still be more done. I am still continuing my campaign, hoping to raise more funds for India. Now that it is safe to host larger events, I am planning on expanding my fundraiser to a larger audience, hoping to collect more donations and spread awareness of this issue.