Sunday, July 26, 2015

For Billionaires and Millionaires – One way to win respect and goodness

Oil on Canvas by Pieter Bruegel

Free Kitchens

While the majority of humans on Earth have to struggle for necessities of life a few are well off and do not have to. The planet also has many billionaires and multi millionaires. Some of them have come into their wealth because of their good karma and good fortune (not hard work because that never produced any great wealth for ants or humans, that is just a lie to fool people, those who work the hardest in our world such as laboring persons are also some of the poorest) but many have ended up with such a huge wealth because of exploitative economic systems, unethical or illegal means. Therefore the society at large does not view them kindly. Some of them indulge in philanthropic activities to give back something to society but this activity may not always be fruitful. For example it may be a donation to an NGO that spends most of the money on administrative expenses or it may be to a cause that is not directly visible to most or of benefit to society at large. This brief note presents another simple idea that can go a long way in helping the neediest persons of society in a most direct way that is setting up of free food kitchens in society where anyone may come and eat for free.

A Billionaire may not have the expertise himself to set up a free kitchen even though he may be willing. In this case all he has to do is establish a not for profit company to do the job funded by his contribution. He may set aside a fund for running this kitchen until the fund gets exhausted and then hand over the facility to a charitable organization or close it. It is also possible to keep these kitchens running near forever by keeping a donation box near the entrance for those who are not hard up to contribute a bit to help other needy persons who visit the kitchen.  With a company, in case one day the food went bad and some persons fell sick, as can happen with food at times, people would not come to bash up the billionaire directly :-)

The food served in such kitchens must necessarily be the simplest possible for reasonable human health but it goes without saying that children under six coming with their parent must get special attention in these kitchens with perhaps an extra glass of milk of good quality or a small packet of roasted nuts. The meals for adults may be as simple as bread and a bean plus vegetable soup (that contains some fat or vegetable oil) along with just one of the three, a fruit, serving of yoghurt or salad on different days to complete nutritional requirements. With an appropriate selection of vegetables, beans of various kinds from garbanzo to lentils, some spices and the right recipe that may easily be researched or searched on the net, such soups can be both nutritious and delicious while not being expensive. There is also a boiled egg soup with no beans where a hard boiled and shelled egg kept separately is dunked into the hot vegetable soup just before serving to add protein value to it. Some eggs break in the process of boiling, these are removed carefully, diced and mixed in the soup in advance. The kitchen would need to have its own bread making unit. If the kitchen begins providing gourmet meals then even those who do not need may begin shutting down their own kitchens, therefore these must be strictly avoided. A simple layout for one such kitchen is shown in the schematic. Such kitchens must be set up in areas that can be reached by the poor.

The ideal timing for them to serve appears to be two hours each twice a day e.g. 12 to 2 pm and 6 to 8 pm. The remaining time is needed by staff for preparation and maintenance who may have working hours in two different shifts 9 to 3 pm and 3 pm to 9pm, and a rotating weekly holidays not just Sundays. However this is just loud thinking and the details can be varied with local needs, experience and deliberation.

In the Punjab province of India every city has several free kitchens funded by donations from the Sikh community called Lungars. It is because of this that not a single Sikh beggar may be found in the world. If one community can do it so can the rest of humanity and there really is no need to have even a single city or town in the world that does not have a free kitchen. In the book The Babaji Affair that has the story of a new town being built in the Himalayas one of the first things that was done was to establish a free kitchen in town.

Not only will setting up of a free kitchen by a billionaire or a big millionaire (worth over 50 million) be a service worthy of respect it will also add much good fortune, good wishes and happiness to the life of a person who does so. There is no better way to win hearts and minds than with providing a refreshing and nutritious meal to someone who is hungry. The poor shall not grudge him his wealth so much and instead of cursing him shall say, "He feeds those in need for free with love and care."

The wealth of a billionaire is far more than he can burn in a life time (that means actually burning notes in a fire) and no new toy would give him greater happiness than an act of charity. Were he too leave it all to his heirs he would only be leaving misery for them, for beyond a point, that is what much wealth does.

Schematic of Free Kitchen Please do visit a page dedicating to alleviating hunger at https://facebook.com/ohmm11

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