Desh Deshpande and Vadana Tilak on Akshaya Patra’s Virtual Gala and Coping With COVID-19 on Chai With Manju


WALTHAM, MA—The COVID-19 has changed everything for everyone—from working in the office to working at home, from meeting in person to meeting vial digital channels, and from organizing fundraising galas for charities to reflecting on life and everything else around.

In this context, Chai With Manju is starting a mini series on COVID-19 Diaries and how it is impacting people’s life and business. In the first episode, Chai With Manju spoke with Akshaya Patra USA Chairman and philanthropist Desh Deshpande and Akshaya Patra CEO Vandana Tilak who are hosting Boston’s first Virtual Gala this weekend that will be attended by more than 1,000 families.

In an exclusive video interview on Chai With Manju, both Mr. Deshpande and Ms. Tilak talk about how they are coping with COVID-19 and about the upcoming virtual gala.

To watch the full interview, please click here or on the image below.

Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest mid-day meal provider which holds its Boston fundraising gala every year, is hosting an unprecedented virtual gala this year in response to COVID-19 crisis.

The Virtual Gala is scheduled for May 3rd at 5.30 pm EST. The gala features several speakers, including Ashish Jha, a professor at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and Kash Rangan, who teaches at Harvard Business School, and is familiar with Akshaya Patra.

Akshaya Patra serves hot and nutritious school lunch to 1.8 million children in India.

Akshaya Patra’s experience in food preparation and distribution, with 55 kitchens nationally, has allowed the organization to quickly address the food crisis made worse because of the pandemic.

The cost per food box that feeds two people for 21 days is $25.00.

In the US, Akshaya Patra planned and executed 40 benefit events in 2019. With the possibility of not being able to have live events, changing course by planning out the technology, the logistics and using the tremendous opportunity to rally the community together, the organization has finalized a virtual gala, open to anyone on the globe.

For more information:

To register for the virtual gala, please email to


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