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April 2nd, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Once a rising star, chef now feeds hungry

By Danielle Berger, CNN

Madurai, India (CNN) - Naryanan Krishnan was a bright, young, award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. But a quick family visit home before heading to Europe changed everything.

"I saw a very old man [eating] his own human waste for hunger," Krishnan said. "It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime."

Krishnan was visiting a temple in the south Indian city of Madurai in 2002 when he saw the man under a bridge. Haunted by the image, Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny.

"That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame - to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves," Krishnan said.

Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2003. Now 29, he has served more than 1.2 million meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - to India's homeless and destitute, mostly elderly people abandoned by their families and often abused. FULL STORY

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Filed under: CNN Heroes
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Mitchell

    Why work....vote democrat. Things may not be as simple as my comment but alot of the poor will not try to better themselfs because they know someone's else's tax money is there for them and has been for decades. Complicated issue.

    April 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  2. Joan Fox

    Interestingly enough, I spent 2 months in India and I found it easier to get primary health care there than here. If Americans were not so geographically isolated, the Republican Party would not have been able to stall health care reform for the last 50 years. We are dependant upon the media to inform us, and unfortnatly, the media is moving more and more toward entertainment and sensationalism. Or, the present "both sides" when really one side is spreading nothing but baseless lies, and the other trying to deal with complex issues.

    April 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Gerard

    This shocking article is not so much unlike some of the poor and destitute in the United States. Poverty in this country is higher than it should be also yet some in this country turn a blind eye to the needs of these people who cannot fend for themselves. Tea partiers and conservatives are the most guilty of this.....case in point, opposition to healthcare reform. Need I say more?

    April 2, 2010 at 7:22 am |