Food4Lives is a service 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).
Three years 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.