Award-winning Chef Trades Career for a Life of Selfless Giving
13 years ago Narayanan Krishnan was a celebrated chef with an offer to head a restaurant at a luxury hotel in Switzerland. After witnessing a homeless man feed on his own excrement to keep from starving to death, the award winning chef decided to decided to step down from the offer and pursue feeding the homeless full-time in his hometown in Madurai, India.
Since that moment, Krishnan has served over 1.2 million meals to locals, providing 450 meals—including breakfast, lunch and dinner—a day.
In 2002, using his savings, Krishnan rented a kitchen and worked as a one-man team. When the public learned of his efforts, they began to rally behind him, inspiring him to form the Akshaya’s H.E.L.P. Trust non-profit in June 2003.
With a rented van, Krishnan and his team cover nearly 125 miles a day, giving rounds of meals to the destitute on the way, according to a recent Huffington Post UK article in June 2013. Their day usually begins at 4 in the morning and lasts through 11 pm—and often in temperatures that can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
When he sought additional services for the homeless—haircuts and shavings for men—a group of barbers declined to take the project. Instead of bowing out of the idea, Krishnan enrolled in a haircutting school for six months—and began offering services on the road. Since then, he reports to have given three to four thousand haircuts.
Recently, according to his organization’s website, Akshaya's H.E.L.P Trust opened a new homeless shelter that provides medical relief, physiotherapy, and food.
Krishan’s work was recognized by CNN in 2010, when he was featured as one of the Top Ten Heroes by CNN. Check out their touching profile:
How You Can Help
Learn more about their new shelter and rehabilitation services in Madurai, India, by watching the video below.
Contribute to the second phase of the Akshaya shelter at the site here, which will help the organization house and care for more destitute persons found in Krishnan's district streets. Currently, the second phase is in need of $5,150 for completion. The building site was prepared in 2009, with construction beginning in early 2010. The doors of the rehabilitation center first opened in May 2013.
Listen to Krishnan's TEDx talk "The Joy of Giving" and be inspired by his passion to serve others for the simple joy of it: