Everyday, 258 cooks prepare wholesome meals in 20 Annamrita kitchens and 301 vehicles carry hope and promise to over a million children in 6288 schools across India.
After the raw materials have been procured, the rice cleaned and the cooking completed, the next challenge is the dispatch process. How to get so many meals out to the children as fast and efficiently as we can?
The day before, all the containers have been air dried after washing and then sanitized; this ensures that they are 100% clean when filled with highly nutritious hot food.
Once the food is ready, it is tasted and observations for temperature, colour, appearance, flavour, consistency and taste are documented. After the documented parameters are found to be acceptable, the containers are passed on the conveyor below the cauldrons. The outlet valve at the bottom of the cauldron is opened and the container is filled with the food. Once filled up to the pre-measured level, the containers are pushed on the conveyor and the next container is filled. In this entire process, food is untouched by hand. This ensures maintenance of high standards of hygiene and sanitation.
Next, the filled containers are sealed with security seals to avoid tampering. The security seal is of paramount importance and the schools have been instructed to not accept the containers if the seal is broken. Each container has a specific colour coded security seal (which indicates the variety and quantity of food) to help easily identify during delivery. Samples of all the food cooked for the day are taken out and their temperature is measured 3 hours after the dispatch to coincide with the school lunch break timings. In this way we can ensure that the food is still at a safe temperature when the children eat their lunch.
After washing and sanitizing the serving spoons, they are carefully packed in plastic pouches to ensure their cleanliness at the time of the serving. The containers are sealed and along with the serving spoons and then loaded in the delivery vehicles.
The vehicles (specifically certified to carry food material) are washed on a daily basis with soap water. Furthermore, the vehicles are fumigated on a weekly basis to ensure a germ free environment.
The major logistic challenge for FFL Annamrita is that the lunch break in all the schools is at the exact same time. Therefore, to ensure that the meals are delivered on time, specific routes are drawn up after accounting for traffic bottlenecks, as per the timings and location of schools. Each vehicle has been assigned a pre-determined route so that all the schools receive the meals well before the lunch break. All deliveries are acknowledged by signature, along with the school’s official stamp.
After dropping all the containers at the respective schools, the vehicles collect the empty containers back from the schools while returning. By afternoon, cleaning of the containers starts at kitchen. This is a massive task by itself. The containers are first cleaned in hot water, then in soap water and finally in warm water. They are then stacked in the shelves to air dry for the next day’s distribution.
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