Food For Lives

Who are we?

Food4Lives is a family founded by students from Georgia Tech and Emory in 2017 to feed, educate and empower the homeless of Atlanta. Desire Tree Foundation Inc. is an official 501(c)3 non-profit registered with the IRS - Social Charity Work organization. We serve the homeless in 3 simple ways: Annadanam (Feeding the homeless for free), Vastradanam (Providing the homeless basic physical needs and shelter) and Vidyadanam (Educating the homeless for free).

Food For Lives

Our Current Situation

In November 2018, we realized that to serve more souls, we would need a large scale permanent facility to carry on these 3 main services as we were growing out of the small rental kitchen and humble distribution equipment that we use to fight the depression of so many hearts. We have finally found a huge kitchen suitable for cooking for 1,000 people at a time. We are looking to raise money to help fund the kitchen rent of $3,782. We humbly appeal to your hearts to be effusive in helping us in this endeavour in any way possible. Whether it is $50/month or $1,000/month, every effort you make to serve the homeless and volunteers will only give you more satisfaction. Every donation you make is tax deductible, but more importantly, makes YOU feel incredible!

Food For Lives

Our Story

One year back, in the January of 2017, on a bright yet wintery cold day, a group of 12 students from Georgia Tech and Emory were riding past Hurt Park in Downtown Atlanta. We saw a long line of homeless people waiting to get some food from a charity table. The organizers simply handed out boxes of leftover food from restaurants and the homeless just took what they got and left. The event literally seemed like a transaction - the purpose of doing charity seemed to be simply to get the organizers more social media publicity.

We decided to stop by and talk to a few of the homeless who collected boxes. Many were wearing clothes that hadn’t been washed in months, and their bodies appeared to be heavily abused by drugs, poor hygiene and the unforgiving weather. When we talked to them and asked them what they thought about people doing charity work, one man’s comment hit us very deeply at heart - “Hey, I just want someone to talk to!”. At the same time, our frustrated hearts, which had been pursuing self-aggrandizement and material success for so long, felt shocked at how deep and satisfied we felt speaking to them. The general operation of most charity work has good intentions, but didn’t seem to be really positively affecting the lives of either the homeless or the volunteers.

In the spur of the moment, we decided to join hands to solve the problem of homelessness with the real solution - Love. We realized that with economic disparity, there has been an exponential growth of homelessness - but there has also been an increase in frustration and stress levels of people in society. We realized on that day, that in giving our hearts & minds in service to those who seemingly have nothing, we get the most satisfaction.

On that day, we found an opportunity to be the change that we wanted to see in the world. We decided to form a non-profit whose purpose was to serve the destitute of Greater Atlanta. With the help of wonderful donors and benefactors through time, effort and resources, Desire Tree Foundation Inc. was registered as an official 501(c)3 non-profit with the IRS - Social Charity Work organization, with our DBA called Food4Lives. Just as trees selflessly do, we serve the desires of the homeless using 3 simple ways:

  • Annadanam - Feeding the homeless for free
  • - Fed over 30,000 plates of fresh food upto December 2018
  • Vidyadanam - Educating the homeless for free
  • - Collected and distributed 100s of school books and bags for small children, and initiated back to school drives to give them a space in public schools
  • Vastradanam - Providing the homeless basic physical needs and shelter
  • - Provided 1000s of winter clothing, sleeping bags and amenities for warmth

However, each of these activities is done with heart. To give examples:

  • We only serve out food freshly made in a certified kitchen, and that is vegetarian, in packaging and utensils that are reusable. This makes our operation environmentally sustainable and hygienic for the homeless.
  • We ensure that every volunteer takes out time to talk to one homeless person, ask them about the hardships they face and listen without judgement to their heart. We also offer advice to those seeking it on how they can live a better life.
  • We don’t want to just give them items for their bodily sustenance, but to also bring them back into society. We have formed a consortium of wealthy donors who are ready to promote the homeless for simple jobs in labour-intensive industries, while we as students train them on getting over bad habits and turning over a new leaf in terms of both skillset and mindset.
  • Every volunteer is given importance. Volunteers come together outside of volunteering hours just to share our hearts over activities like yoga, nature trips, lunch/dinner etc.

At present, our family of volunteers is 300 strong and is expanding steadily. Your kind support and motivation has seen us touch the lives of over 5000 homeless souls in downtown Atlanta. Your time, efforts and resources have made all the difference in the lives of both the homeless and our volunteer family.