On a normal school day, a distinctive blue bus with images of happy school children zooms past the streets of 27 locations in 11 states across India. This blue bus carries thousands of smiles just like the ones displayed on it. This blue bus is the most identifiable part of Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme since it delivers over a million hopes, dreams and of course, smiles with the meals that it carries to the 13,529 schools in our country.
When the Akshaya Patra started executing the mid-day meal programme in the year 2000, access to delivery vehicles was a major challenge. Hence, the organisation would hire transport vehicles from external dealers to deliver food to the schools. Since there were just five schools and were situated not too far from the kitchen, it was manageable.
Gradually, one of the trustees of the organisation arranged for a customised transport vehicle. Our supporters grew in leaps and bounds over the years that followed, as did the number of children we reach out to. With more supporters, more vehicles started flowing in to carry meals and dreams across towns, villages and cities.
The blue bus is a customised transport vehicle specially designed to deliver food that is packed in stainless steel 304 Grade vessels which can keep food hot and fresh for long intervals of time. Every vehicle is steam-sterilised before the loading process. The vehicle uses a puffed body to reduce loss of temperature and a honeycomb structure to hold the vessels upright and keep the freshness of the cooked meal intact till it is served.
…And that is how every meal that goes into those 1.6 million plates is warm, fresh, nutritious and ready to eat!