for ISKCON News on Dec. 27, 2012
On the Christmas Food for Life menu in Budapest were rich lentil soup, bread, hot tea, fruits and delicious pastries.
ISKCON Hungary distributes several hundred thousand plates of free hot meal all year long, but they always make an extra effort to take care of the poor during the cold months, especially during Christmas time. In December 2012, ISKCON Hungary's Food for Life Foundation organized several charity programs in different parts of the country -- they have distributed hot meal and nonperishable food packages to homeless people, poor families and elderly people, under-priviledged roma youth and free toys for needy children.
Some of these programs were organized in collaboration with the local governments, social services or other religious organizations.
The main charity program took place in Budapest on December 24th, 25th and 26th at the same venue - Blaha Lujza square - where ISKCON Hungary has been holding its annual Christmas Food for Life program over the last 22 years.
During those three days, the devotees have cooked over 1,500 portions of nutritious hot vegetarian meal each day. The distribution started at 1 PM, but people started to queue up many hours earlier. Some of them stood there bundled up in the cold with their young children -- they could not afford to lose the only hot meal they could get during Christmas time.
The queue was a mile long in front of the free food distribution venue.
There were several dozen volunteers helping ISKCON Hungary's Christmas food distribution program, including celebrities with their families.
It was worth standing on line, apart from the hot meal, everyone got a nice package of dry food - including rice, pasta, canned vegetables, oil and candies.
They could also chose from the warm winter clothes for themselves and their families.
The children have received free toys -- the only Christmas presents for most of them.
ISKCON Hungary's charity programs draw a lot of media attention all over the country, including the national television and radio news.